Migraines—searing headaches that feel like a hammer to the inside of the skull—can strike anyone, but they predominantly affect women, who are up to four times more likely than men to get them. What causes them, and why they impact women more, remains unclear, but a pair of new studies adds urgency to the need to find better methods of treatment.
One new study published Tuesday in the journal The BMJ found that women who get migraines are also more likely to develop heart conditions like heart attacks and strokes, and are also slightly more likely to die from them compared to women who do not regularly get migraines.
The researchers looked at data of 115,51 women between the ages of 25 to 42 who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II.
The women were then followed for 22 years, and the researchers looked for whether they experienced heart complications. About 15% of the women in the study reported having migraines, and these women were 50% more likely to have a serious heart event compared to women without migraines. Based on the results, the researchers argue migraines should be considered as a risk factor for heart disease.