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Headaches and Heart Disease: A Hidden Link?

By    |   Monday, 25 Jul 2016 06:42 PM

Heart disease is linked to many other health conditions, including some you may not expect. Is there a hidden link between severe headaches and migraines and your chances of having a heart attack?

Dr. Rene Alvarez, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Cardiovascular Center, tells ABC News that well-known indicators of heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stress, and diabetes are not the only warning signs you need to watch for. There are some lesser known health conditions that may signal trouble with your heart.

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Alvarez says the same vascular abnormalities that cause severe headaches may also contribute to heart disease. "If you find a vascular abnormality in one part of the body, you’re likely to find it in another," he adds.

A study published by the American Academy of Neurology examined the link between migraines and risk of heart attack. The study found that women who have an average of one migraine monthly preceded by aura, the early warning visual disturbance some migraine sufferers experience, are twice as likely to develop heart disease.

The migraine sufferers who did not experience aura had no significant increase in developing heart disease.

URGENT: Coronary Heart Disease: 5 Tips to Reduce Your Risk

Patients who already have heart disease or are at high risk of developing it need to exercise caution when treating severe headaches or migraines. Dr. Deborah Tepper of the Cleveland Clinic Headache Centers reports to the American Headache Society that any migraine treatment with the potential to constrict blood vessels in the brain, even if only temporarily, cannot be used in patients with heart disease.

Additionally, popular pain relievers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen and naproxen contain black box warnings in their labeling because of their association with increased risk of heart disease.

The study in the American Academy of Neurology points out that it remains unclear whether safely treating migraine headaches can successfully decrease the risk of developing heart disease.

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Heart disease is linked to many other health conditions, including some you may not expect. Is there a hidden link between severe headaches and migraines and your chances of having a heart attack?
headaches, heart disease, link
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2016-42-25
Monday, 25 Jul 2016 06:42 PM
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