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Migraines linked to fatal heart conditions

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Migraines accompanied by visual or sensory disturbances have been linked to higher death rates from heart disease and stroke.

A study has found the risk of dying from any disease is 21% higher in people who suffer migraine with aura (disturbances before or during a migraine) compared to those who do not suffer migraine headaches.

And analysis for individual diseases found people who suffer migraine with aura are 27% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than non sufferers.

When these cardiovascular deaths were analysed, there was a 28% higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease for those suffering migraine with aura and a 40% higher risk of dying from stroke.

However, the researchers behind the study said the absolute risks for people with migraine and aura are still low.

The research found no increased risk of dying in people who suffer migraines without aura.

The study, published online in the British Medical Journal, examined data from 18,725 men and women born between 1907 and 1935 and living in Iceland.

A second paper, also published by the BMJ online, found that women who suffer migraines with aura are also at a higher risk of haemorrhagic stroke (where bleeding occurs in the brain). These account for around 20% of all strokes.

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