Migraines and Your Heart

More than Just a Headache

For millions of people, migraine can be severely debilitating and can seriously impact the quality of their lives. It disproportionately affects women, affecting about 28 million women in the U.S. A headache is one of the hallmark symptoms, but migraines may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Treating Migraine

There is no cure for migraines, but you can work with your doctor to help manage and treat them. There are two main types of treatments:

  • Acute or abortive treatment aims to stop a migraine when it begins. These medications should be taken when you feel a migraine coming on.
  • Preventive treatment aims to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. This is especially helpful if you get migraines often and if they significantly interfere with your daily routine.

Keeping a headache diary can be beneficial. Writing down what you were doing, what foods you ate, and what medications you were taking before your migraine starts can help identify your triggers. Avoiding these triggers and getting regular sleep, exercise, and meals can also help.

How Migraine Affects your Heart

Studies indicate that some people who get migraines are also more likely to have strokes and heart attacks. Up to a third of people with migraines experience aura, a visual or sensory disturbance that strikes within the hour before the headache takes hold and is referred to as classic migraine or migraine with aura. Classic migraine has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially stroke. If you experience migraine with aura, make sure you ask your doctor about your heart disease and stroke risk.

Want to learn more? Watch our free seminar on migraines and heart disease.