Unchecked Migraines May Boost Risk of Early Death by 50% in Women

Young woman with migraine

Recent research found a link between migraine and a higher risk of premature death in women.

BEACON TRANSCRIPTA joint team of U.S. and German researchers found that recurrent migraines left unchecked may up the mortality risk in women by 50 percent. Researchers also found that the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may considerably reduce that risk.

The latest findings are consistent with past research which had found that there is a statistically significant link between migraines and a high risk of having a stroke. But the recent study also found that migraines are tied to higher chance of dying early and developing a heart condition.

The research team tracked about 115,000 women for more than a decade during the study. The average age of the participants was 33.5 years. Towards the end of the study, researchers noticed that women with recurrent migraines were 50 percent more likely to die prematurely.

Dr Tobias Kurth, lead author of the recent research and researcher with the Berlin-based Institute of Public Health, recommends public health entities to consider migraine a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The researchers added that men may also face a similar risk but no research has been so far conducted to test that assumption.

Dr. Kurth also underscored the importance of further research to deepen the existing understanding of the life-threatening biological processes triggered by migraines. He noted that the issue may be viewed as a public health problem since migraines are so prevalent in the general population both in Europe and North America.

Dr. Kurth and his team also believe that a follow-up study should focus solely on the benefits of statins and vitamin D in earlier death risk in women.

Rebecca Burch from the Harvard Medical School commented on the research and concluded that while the risk may not be too high in an individual’s case, it is significant at the level of a society since migraines are so common nowadays.

Burch isn’t sure whether statins are a better alternative to aspirin when treating migraines.

Researchers at the British Heart Foundation acknowledged that there is an evident link between unchecked migraines and a high risk of early death in women. But they also called for more research to establish what may cause these women to die earlier and whether the findings may apply to men and seniors as well.

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