London: Migraine doubles the chance of a stroke if accompanied by aura (temporary visual or sensory disturbances), says a new study.
Further risk factors for stroke among patients with migraine are being a woman, being young, being a smoker, and using oestrogen containing contraceptives.
Up to one third of migraine sufferers experience an aura prior to or during a migraine headache (often described as the perception of a strange light, an unpleasant smell or confusing thoughts or experiences).
Doctors have long suspected a connection between migraine and vascular events such as stroke.
So to examine this connection further, an international team of researchers analysed the results of nine studies on the association between any migraine (with and without aura) and cardiovascular disease.
They found that migraine with aura is linked to a twofold increased risk of ischemic stroke. This risk is further increased by being female, age less than 45 years, smoking, and oestrogen containing contraceptive use.
There was no link between migraine and heart attack or death due to cardiovascular disease.
The research has been published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).