Young women who suffer from migraines are nearly ten times as likely to have a stroke than those who don't, a new study has revealed. The risk is greatly increased in women who also smoke, use oral con-traceptives or have high blood pressure.
The study by Professor Neil Poulter of London's Imperial College School of Medicine, published in the British Medical Journal, found that smoking increases the danger of some types of stroke seven-fold, and taking the contra¬ceptive Pill raises the stakes 17 times. For those who combined the two the risk rockets by 35 times.
The results of the research carried out across Europe, and involving 291 women aged 20 to 44 who had suffered a stroke, should act as a warning to migraine vic¬tims to take action to reduce their risks.
Professor Poulter said: 'If you get migraines, reduce the risk of stroke by giving up smoking. I wouldn't say don't take the Pill as it is the best form of con¬traception for many, but low-dose pills are best. The absolute level of risk, how¬ever, is very small.'
The researchers also found that a fami¬ly history of migraine, irrespective of per¬sonal history, raised the risk of stroke.
Compared to 2000 the risk of heart attack of young people doubled. For more details see the article "More young people see a surge in strokes" in "Courier-journal".