Migraines in men linked to heart attack risk

Men who experience migraines are somewhat more likely to have heart attacks than are men who don’t get the headaches, a new study suggests.

The curious association comes from a study of more than 20,000 men, ages 40 to 84, who recorded their medical status in annual questionnaires. Seven percent of the men reported migraines during the first 5 years of the trial. During the following 16 years, those men were 24 percent more likely than men without migraines to develop cardiovascular disease and 42 percent more likely to have heart attacks, researchers report in the April 23 Archives of Internal Medicine.

The researchers adjusted the data to account for differences among the men that might cloud the findings. Those factors included weight, age, smoking status, diabetes, cholesterol concentrations, blood pressure, alcohol use, family history of heart attack, and exercise.

Other studies have hinted at a correlation between cardiovascular problems and migraines, but scientists have failed to find a biological mechanism linking the two, says study coauthor Tobias Kurth, a neuroepidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It’s still an open question,” he says.

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