Quitting smoking is important for adults who experience migraines
New research led by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine suggests older people who experience migraines may have an increased risk of stroke, but only if they are smokers.
“Migraine and risk of stroke in older adults: Northern Manhattan Study,” led by Teshamae Monteith, M.D., assistant professor of neurology, is published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study did not find an association between migraine with or without aura and the risk of either stroke or heart attacks. However, among smokers, migraine was associated with a three-fold increased risk of stroke, whereas among nonsmokers, migraine was not associated with a stroke risk.
What is a migraine?
For anyone who has experienced a migraine, trying to explain what it feels like to someone who has not experienced one can be exasperating.
Mayo Clinic defines a migraine headache as follows:
Although much about the cause of migraines isn’t understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role. Migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway. Imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system — also may be involved. Researchers continue to study the role of serotonin in migraines. Serotonin levels drop during migraine attacks. This may cause your trigeminal system to release substances called neuropeptides, which travel to your brain’s outer covering (meninges). The result is headache pain.
How should I treat a migraine?
Treatment options depend on the severity of the migraine attack.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately:
- An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
- Headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking
- Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse
- A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
- New headache pain if you’re older than 50
Learn more about your chronic migraine treatment options
Our staff is happy to answer your questions about our chronic migraine pain relief treatment methods as well as the types of conditions we treat using natural therapies.