Research over the last few years has found that migraine sufferers are approximately 50% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and also face increased risks of stroke as a result of migraine headaches. The risk factors include: diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Results showed that migraine sufferers were twice as likely to have a heart attack. The research suggests that migraines weaken the inner layer of blood vessels inside, as well as, outside the brain. According to the study, which was published in the February 2010 issue of Neurology, those with migraines should start preparing for these cardiovascular disease risks at an early age1.
One of the best things you can do to stave of cardiovascular disease is to eat healthy. Furthermore, migraine sufferers can lessen the frequency and severity of migraines by exercising regularly. Having the discipline to develop and follow through with a daily exercise plan could mean the difference for any cardiovascular disease. You should devote at least thirty minutes every day to some form of more intense exercise. For those who have not been keeping up with a daily exercise routine, it is better to start with a twenty to thirty minute walk in the afternoon or evening and gradually (after a few weeks) move to a thirty minute jog. Migraine sufferers should also be aware that your diet could be one the biggest contributors to your migraine episodes. Therefore, it is imperative that you control what you put into your system. Cardiovascular disease builds over long periods of time.
If you can isolate foods and food groups that cause migraine episodes early on, you might be able to substantially reduce the frequency and severity of these episodes and minimize cardiovascular disease risks. This in turn, will lessen the beating that your blood vessels take every time they inflame as a result of a throbbing migraine. Do not eat leftovers that have sat in the refrigerator for more than two days as they start to build high levels of tyramine (See the following section of our site for more information, “In Focus: Tyramine”). If you drink coffee, cut your intake by at least half. Substantially reduce the amount of alcohol that you consume. Be especially careful to consume only small amounts or completely avoid alcohols such as red wine, which contain large amounts of nitrates as well as tyramine. You might have to completely remove the following from your diet: Chocolate, cheese, MSG (See the following section of our site for more information, “In Focus: Monosodium Glutamate”, onions, and pickled of fermented foods in addition to other foods.
If you start exercising regularly and you are careful with your diet, not only will you minimize the cardiovascular risk posed by migraines, but you will also substantially reduce the frequency and severity of migraine episodes.
1. www.sciencedaily.com, “Migraine May Double Risk of Heart Attack”, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100210161732.htm