Answers to Common Headache Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about headaches.

Are frequent migraines a risk factor for stroke?

Dr. Richard Kim discusses migraines as a risk factor for stroke. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Are frequent migraines a risk factor for stroke?

Certain patients with migraine are at an increase risk of stroke, but it's not everyone. The patients that are at an increased risk of stroke are females with migraine with aura. Studies show that in females with migraine with aura, their about a two-fold increase risk of stroke. There are other factors that can increase that risk further, if a patient is on estrogen-containing therapy, such as estrogen-containing birth control, that increases their risk of stroke six-fold. If they smoke, nine-fold. It's basically controlling risk factors to lower your risk of stroke, so follow up with your primary care doctor and make sure your blood pressure is controlled, that your cholesterol is okay, that you don't have diabetes, and get those addressed if they need to.

 

Certain patients with migraine are at an increased risk for stroke, but not everyone. Studies show that women who experience migraine with aura are twice as likely to have a stroke. Other risk factors also come into play. If you use an estrogen-containing therapy, such as birth control, you are six times more likely to have a stroke. If you smoke, the risk for stroke increases even more.

Talk with your primary care doctor to make sure you are doing what you can to lower your risk factors and control them, such as maintaining a stable blood pressure, keeping cholesterol in check and watching for diabetes.

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Source: Richard Kim, MD, The Clinical Neuroscience Institute; Aaron Block, MD, Franklin Family Practice

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