Could your migraine headache increase your risk of suffering a life-threatening event? If you’ve ever suffered a migraine, you know it can feel as if your life is ending, with symptoms including intense throbbing / pulsing sensation in one area of the head. Add to that a good chance of nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to both light and sound, and many migraine sufferers find themselves out of commission until the migraine subsides.
But what if that wasn’t even the worst of it? According to a study published online ahead of print in Stroke, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that self-reported migraine sufferers (migraines verified by International Classification of Headache Disorders-2 criteria) had more than double the risk of suffering a subclinical brain infarction (essentially a stroke) compared to study participants who did not experience migraines. This increased risk was evident even when the researchers accounted for other potential risk factors for brain infarction, including sociodemographic variables and vascular risk factors.
Infarction is tissue death caused by lack of oxygen, generally due to an obstruction of blood supply / flow. Obviously if the brain can’t get enough oxygen / blood, bad things are going to happen – quickly. If you suffer from migraines and have decided to “survive” them with over-the-counter medication and other tactics, this research should be an eye opener that you may not be doing enough. Talk to your doctor about your migraines and learn more about headache symptoms.