Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Health Center

Font Size

Men's Migraines Up Heart Attack Risk

Study Shows Middle-Aged Men Who Have Migraines More Likely to Have Heart Attacks

WebMD Health News

Nov. 15, 2006 -- Middle-aged men who suffer from migraine headaches are 42% more likely to have a heart attack when compared with nonsufferers, according to a new analysis of the 20,084 men participating in the Physicians' Health Study.

"Until we understand more about the association between migraines and heart disease, patients with migraines should think about how to mitigate other known heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, smoking, and obesity," says researcher Tobias Kurth, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The study comes on the heels of other research by Kurth and colleagues that showed that older women with migraines -- especially those accompanied by neurologic visual disturbances known as aura -- had a higher risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

In the current study, the researchers did not have information on whether the men had auras. But Kurth says he believes the "findings in women are probably generalizable to men."

An aura occurs before the onset of a migraine. Aura symptoms can include, but are not limited to, light flashes, blind spots, blurred vision, and the formation of dazzling zigzag lines during the migraine. Aura can also include changes in sensation and smell.

About one-third to one-fifth of sufferers of either sex typically have aura symptoms.

As in the women's study, it is not clear if the heart risks apply to younger people, as they were not studied.

Blood Vessels Blamed

The study, presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2006, included 20,084 men participating in the Physicians' Health Study.

The men were aged 56 on average when they joined the study, and none had a history of cardiovascular disease or angina at the start of the study. They were followed for an average of 15.7 years.

Of the total, 1,449 (7.2%) men were classified as being migraine sufferers, having reported they suffered them during the first five years of the study.

At the start of the study, men with migraines were slightly more likely to have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels, compared with men who didn't have migraines. But even after these factors were taken into account, there was still a significant association between migraines and heart disease.

Today on WebMD

hdl letters stacked up
How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol.
Learn the causes.
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
heart rate
What’s normal? What’s not?
Lower Cholesterol 02
Heart Foods Slideshow
Compressed heart
doctor looking at xrays
Heart Disease And Ed
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow
lowering blood pressure
Wide Awake For Heart Surgery