Women with MigraineCardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. About 600,000 people die due to heart disease every year, that is, 1 in every 4 deaths. A new research shows that women who suffer from migraine are 1.52 times more likely to suffer from a cardiovascular disease than women without this symptom. They also have more chances to have a stroke, heart attack or die of any other cardiology diseases.

The study results were presented at the American Headache Society’s (AHS) 56th Annual scientific meeting. The results of the study specify that there is a consistent link between migraine and cardiovascular disease.

The study included participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing prospective cohort study of female registered nurses in the United States. It was launched in the year 1989, when the nurses were between 25 and 42 years old. The information on reproductive and lifestyle factors and medical history were primarily collected through self administered questionnaires. An excellent response rate of up to 90% was recorded.

Women participants were asked to provide details whether they had been diagnosed with this disease by a physician in the questionnaire in 1989, 1991 and 1993. It was found that in every 2 years women reported several incidences of cardiovascular diseases and this was confirmed with the help of medical record review by physicians. The analysis included follow-up information until June 2011.

The primary outcome measure included CVD (a combined endpoint of fatal and nonfatal stroke and myocardial infarction). Secondary outcomes included MI, stroke (all subtypes), angina and coronary revascularization procedures and CVD mortality. The key study findings include –

  • Migraine prevalence was 15.2% (17,531 women). On the other hand, an additional 3345 women were newly diagnosed with this condition, thereby increasing the overall percentage to 18%.
  • About 1329 CVD events (including 678 MIS and 651 strokes) were reported during the 20 years of follow-up.
  • Women were at high risk of developing secondary CVD outcomes.

The possible mechanisms linking migraine with cardiovascular disease have long been debated. These essentially include – higher prevalence of vascular risk factors, endovascular function and shared genetic markers.

Migraine is a systemic disorder affecting the vascular system. This physical condition can also have a serious emotional impact. Future targeted research is essential to identify methods that could explain the prominent reasons for increased prevalence of this disease risk in patients along with possible pain management or prevention strategies.

Accurate clinical documentation is crucial for physicians treating patients suffering from this condition. Physicians should make sure that medical coding for this condition and treatment is performed by trained personnel, checked by experts and audited internally for accuracy.