People with migraine with aura are nearly twice as likely to suffer the most common form of stroke; ischemic stroke. The risk more than triples for migraineurs who are smokers. Seven times more likely someone with migraine with aura uses estrogen-based birth control and smokes. Migraines also increase the risk of heart attacks and leg pain due to poor circulation.
“The biology underlying the relationship between migraine and stroke is poorly defined,” Drs. Star and Biller write.
Researchers have proposed several possible explanations for the migraine-stroke association:
- Migraine sufferers are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including low levels of HDL (so-called “good cholesterol”) and high levels of c-reactive protein.
- Specific genes may predispose people to suffer both migraines and stroke.
- Medications to treat migraines may increase the risk of stroke.
- A phenomenon that occurs during migraine aura, called cortical spreading depression, might trigger an ischemic stroke. A cortical spreading depression is a slowly propagated wave of depolarization, followed by depression of brain activity occurring during migraine aura. It includes changes in neural and vascular function.
“Taking all of these possible explanations into account, the research may point to stroke and migraine sharing a reciprocal causal relationship,” Drs. Star and Biller write. “There is a significant amount of research attempting to further elucidate this multifaceted relationship.”
Dr. Star is a co-chief resident in neurology and Dr. Biller is a professor and chair in the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. (MedicalPress)
This is nothing we have not heard on the stroke front. Previous research as said the same. What this interesting is that they are trying to determine the causal relationship.