Migraine may increase the risk of stroke in older smokers

headache migraine

Migraine is a disorder characterized by recurrent headaches. Usually, the headaches affect half of the head and can last from hours to days.

In a recent study, researchers find that migraine may increase the risk of stroke in older people, if they are smokers. The finding is published in Neurology.

Researchers from University of Miami and Columbia University conducted the study. A total of 1,292 involved participants were from the Northern Manhattan Study, a population-based cohort study of stroke incidence.

Researchers assessed participants’ migraine symptoms using a self-report questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed based on criteria from the International Classification of Headache Disorders, second edition.

Researchers estimated the association among migraine, stroke, and combined vascular diseases over a follow-up of 11 years.

Among the participants, 262 patients (20%) had migraine and 75 (6%) had migraine with aura. No association was found between migraine (with or without aura) and risk of either stroke or combined cardiovascular diseases.

However, there was an interaction between migraine and current smoking. Those with migraine and smoking were at an increased risk of stroke.

In addition, the hazard ratio of stroke among current smokers was 3.17 and among current nonsmokers was 0.77.

In relation to combined vascular events, the hazard ratio for migraine vs. no migraine among current smokers was 1.83 and among current nonsmokers was 0.63.

Based on the results, researchers suggest that migraine is associated with an increased risk of stroke in active smokers but not in nonsmokers.

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Citation: Monteith TS, et al. (2015). Migraine and risk of stroke in older adults: Northern Manhattan Study. Neurology, 85: 715-721. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001854.
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