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Marauding Migraines

Study:  Migraines Sufferers Have Higher Risk of Heart Attack

Could your risk for a heart attack be tied to whether or not you suffer from migraines?

Here’s some news that might make your migraines worse:  They increase your risk for heart attack.

That’s according to a new study reported in the medical journal Neurology.  Researchers from the University Hospital Essen in Germany studied more than 11,000 adults living in the U.S., half of them battling migraines fairly regularly.  When the researchers looked into their heart health, they found that those that suffered migraines were more likely to have suffered a heart attack or heart-related malady.

This shouldn’t be the source of too much alarm, though.  After all, of the 6,100 people with migraines, just four percent of them had a heart attack or stroke (the rate of heart attack or stroke was two percent among the remaining 5,200 participants).

So if the risk heart attack isn’t really significant, then you may be wondering why I would bother to mention this in the first place.  After all, why bother reporting it if the risk isn’t very high?  People can just treat them with painkillers and the heart risk goes away, right?  Not exactly.

According to researchers, treating your migraine with painkillers may put you at an even greater risk for cardiovascular-related problems.

In an October issue of the Harvard Heart Letter, a Harvard Medical School publication devoted to information about pharmaceutical-based pain relievers, NSAIDs often cause the blood vessels to constrict.  They can also cause blockages to form inside the arteries through the production of smooth muscle cells.

And in a separate study published in 2008 in the pages of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers concluded that all NSAIDs increase a person’s heart risk.  Quite the statement to make, but after a review of 8,850 people who’d suffered heart attacks, they found that the likelihood of their having a heart attack was tied to the dosage and the length of time the drugs were taken.

NSAIDs—or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—are a class of drugs often taken by migraine sufferers for relief.  You may recall that Vioxx was taken off the market in 2004 when clinical studies revealed they increased a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke. It’s maker, Merck, remains embroiled in lawsuits five years later.

For more information on the natural options that are out there for migraine relief, please peruse the section of my web site devoted to migraine relief.

While the choice of pharmaceutical medication or natural treatment is a decision best left between you and your doctor, naturally treating your migraines is something you ought to least try.  As the saying goes, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Sources:
foxnews.com
health.harvard.edu
braytonlaw.com
nj.com

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