FEB 22, 2024 3:30 PM PST

Migraines and Menopause Symptoms Linked to Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research published in the journal Menopause has shown that women who experience migraines and vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes are at greater risk of strokes and other cardiovascular disease events.

The study included data from nearly 2,000 women who were 18 to 30 years of age when the study began. After 15 years of data collection, the rates at which participants had migraine headaches were measured along with their vasomotor symptom trajectories, which were classified as minimal, increasing, or persistent based on frequency. Vasomotor symptoms can include hot flashes and night sweats and are a common menopausal symptom. Migraine frequency and vasomotor symptom trajectories were then analyzed in relation to cardiovascular disease events and strokes to see whether they were correlated.

The results showed that women who had a history of migraines and who had persistent vasomotor symptoms were at a greater risk of both heart disease and stroke. However, both risks were attenuated when the results were adjusted for cardiovascular disease risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting blood glucose.

These results suggest that women who experience migraines and vasomotor symptoms in middle age or younger should focus on minimizing their cardiovascular risk factors. This may mean incorporating more exercise, eating mindfully, getting more sleep, or more closely managing factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol. The authors of the study noted that women experiencing symptoms such as migraines and hot flashes as young adults can minimize their chances of heart disease and stroke later in life by focusing on healthy habits. While early menopause-associated symptoms are correlated with increased cardiovascular risk, this study shows that the risk can be attenuated by healthy lifestyle habits and by avoiding common cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and obesity.  

Sources: Menopause, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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