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Johns Hopkins Health - Your Migraine Could Be More Serious Than You Think

Spring 2010
Issue No. 8

Your Migraine Could Be More Serious Than You Think

Date: April 23, 2010


Migraine headaches are painful and often debilitating—and are associated with more than twice the risk of the most common stroke, according to a Johns Hopkins study last year.

Women, particularly, are at higher risk. And people who experience visual symptoms during a migraine such as auras, flashing lights, zigzag lines and blurred vision also are more susceptible to stroke.

“Identifying people at highest risk is crucial to preventing disabling strokes,” says study investigator and cardiologist Saman Nazarian, M.D. Nazarian adds that physicians should consider addressing stroke risk factors in people with histories or signs of light flashes and the blurry vision associated with severe headaches.

Prevention and treatment options for migraines include stopping smoking and taking blood pressure or blood-thinning medications. For women with migraines, Nazarian says that stopping use of oral contraceptives or discontinuing hormone replacement therapy may be recommended.

Discover more about the connection between migraines and strokes at

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