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Nov 16, 2006 at 03:17pm IST

Migraine is linked to heart attack: study

Washington: Middle-aged men who suffer from migraine are more at risk of heart attacks, says a new study.

Migraine is a painful neurological condition, of which the most common symptom is an intense and disabling episodic headache.

Men with migraines were more likely to have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels, compared to men who didn't have migraines, a study done on 20,084 men revealed.

SEVERE PAIN: Migraine sufferers are more at risk of heart attacks, says a new study.

Tobias Kurth, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and other researchers had earlier shown that older women with migraines especially those accompanied by neurological visual disturbances known as aura, had a higher risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, reported the online edition of health magazine WebMD.

In the current study, the researchers did not have information on whether the men had auras.

According to Kurth, the findings in women could be applied to men as well.

An aura occurs before the onset of a migraine. Aura symptoms can include, but are not limited to, light flashes, blind spots, blurred vision, and the formation of dazzling zigzag lines during the migraine.

Aura can also include changes in sensation and smell.

"Until we understand more about the association between migraines and heart disease, patients with migraines should think about how to mitigate other known heart disease risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, smoking and obesity," the scientist said.