Chronic Migraine Resources (advertisement)
But a group of researchers found that different migraines may influence this risk differently. And one type appears to raise the odds the most.
Migraines with Aura Raise Chances
The study looked at a group of women ages 20 to 44. Those who had migraines with auras had a greater risk for stroke than women who didn't have them. Stroke risk increased for the aura sufferers if:
they had more than 12 migraines with aura per year
their first migraine involved an aura
they began having migraines with auras in the last four years.
What's an Aura?
Auras are neurological symptoms that occur before and sometimes during a migraine. For this study, researchers defined auras as speech problems and other disturbances. But the following also can be considered auras:
Brief loss of vision
Weakness of an arm or leg
Tingling in the face or hands
Ringing in ears
Vision problems, such as seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines
Fight Migraines—and Stroke
Researchers don't know why only some women develop auras. But they do know that certain factors, such as fatigue, lack of food, and stress, can set off migraines. Avoiding these triggers may help prevent headaches.
There also is a lot women can do to lower their stroke risk. This includes the following strategies:
1. Don't smoke—it almost doubles your risk.
2. Keep your teeth and gums healthy. Women who ward off persistent oral infections, such as gum disease, enjoy a lower stroke risk.
3. Eat a heart-smart diet and exercise regularly to protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. All of these health problems increase your stroke risk.