stroke illustration
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Stroke

Women who get migraines with aura are more likely to have a stroke, which happens when part of your brain suddenly gets cut off from a blood supply. Studies show the chance of having a stroke gets worse if you also smoke, have high blood pressure, or take birth control pills.

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heart attack illustration
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Heart Disease

You're more likely to have heart disease, such as chest pain called angina or a heart attack, if you also have migraines, and vice versa. But there are many things you can do to help lower this risk, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a good night's sleep.

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doctor checking patient blood pressure
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High Blood Pressure

Some studies show that people with migraines may be more likely to have high blood pressure. But the research was mostly with white women, so more studies are needed to see if this holds true for others as well.

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patent foramen ovale
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Heart Abnormalities

People who get migraines, especially if they get an aura, are more likely to have problems with the structure of their ticker. One issue in particular is called "patent foramen ovale" (PFO). It's a small hole between the right and left upper chambers of the heart. About a third of people who get migraines have it.

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Epilepsy

You're more likely to have this condition, which causes seizures, if you get migraines -- and the other way around, too. Both conditions appear to be caused by a similar problem: cells in the brain called neurons that are unusually sensitive. And both disorders may be due to genes you get from your parents. Doctors use some of the same drugs, like divalproex sodium (Depakote) and topiramate (Topamax), to treat them.

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apartment light on at night
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Insomnia

Sleep problems, including insomnia, are common in people who get migraines. They can also lead to anxiety and depression, which are linked to migraine. Irregular sleep habits are also one of the major triggers for migraine headaches. You may sleep better if you wake up every day at the same time and avoid alcohol and caffeine late in the day.

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depressed woman close up
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Anxiety and Depression

About 25% of people with migraine have depression, and up to 50% have anxiety. It's more typical if your migraines are frequent -- headaches on 15 days out of the month. The links aren't clear, but it may have something to do with the way your brain sends signals from one neuron to another with a chemical called serotonin.

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Childhood Abuse

If you had sexual, physical, or emotional abuse as a child, you may start getting migraines earlier, and they're more likely to turn into a long-term problem. It's not clear why, but doctors know that early stress can change your brain structure, hormones, or nervous system, and even turn on certain genes. Talk to a trusted health care provider about current or past abuse.

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woman with tinnitus
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Tinnitus

It's a condition that makes it sound as if there's ringing or hissing in your ear. For some people, the problem may only get really bad when they have a migraine. It's not clear why this happens, but it could be that neurons send abnormal signals during an attack.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

People who have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, like belly pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, are more likely to get migraines. And new research links them to some of the same genes. More study is needed to figure out what treatments might work together to help these conditions.

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fibromyalgia tender points
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Fibromyalgia

When you have this condition, you could have all-over body pain, anxiety, depression, and be oversensitive to light, sound, and even pressure at specific "tender points." You might also be more likely to get migraines. Preventing migraines with treatment may help keep away fibromyalgia flares, too. Talk to your doctor about the best therapy options for you.

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PTSD

It stands for posttraumatic stress disorder. It's a response to a traumatic event like abuse or a bad car accident. When you have PTSD, you "relive" it, including the intense emotions. You're more likely to have migraine if you have this problem. In people with both conditions, almost 70% have PTSD symptoms before they get a headache. Your doctor may be able to help you manage your symptoms with therapy and medication.

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diet plate of vegetables
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Low Blood Sugar

When your blood sugar levels are too low, you have a problem called hypoglycemia. This can trigger a migraine in some people. But a headache caused by fasting is not always due to low blood sugar. It could happen for many reasons, such as you didn't drink enough water, you cut back on your regular amount of caffeine, or your body released stress hormones because you haven't eaten.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 07/10/2018 Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 10, 2018

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) SCIEPRO / Science Source

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SOURCES:

American Headache Society: "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) & Migraine."

The Migraine Trust: "Hypoglaecemia," "Stroke and migraine."

American Migraine Foundation: "Abuse, Maltreatment, and PTSD and Their Relationship to Migraine," "Tinnitus," "Migraine and Common Co-Morbidities," "Anxiety and Depression," "Sleep," "What is Migraine?" "Topiramate for Migraine Prevention: An Update," "Migraine and Cardiovascular Disease," "Migraine, Stroke and Heart Disease," "Migraine and Stroke: Reducing Your Risk," "Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them."

Fibromyalgia Symptoms: "Migraine Headaches and Fibromyalgia."

National Headache Foundation: "Migraine, Tension Headaches, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Share Genetic Links."

Medscape: "Migraine Tied to Hypertension Risk in Women."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 10, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.