Migraine and the risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke in women

Womens Health (Lond). 2009 Jan;5(1):69-77. doi: 10.2217/17455057.5.1.69.


Migraine is a common chronic disorder, especially amongst women - approximately 18% of US women will have had a migraine attack within the past year. Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the same population. This review summarizes the best available epidemiological evidence for an independent association between migraine and cardiovascular disease amongst women. The most reliable evidence comes from the Women's Health Study, which found that migraine with aura raised the risk of myocardial infarction by 91% (95% CI: 17-210%) and ischemic stroke by 108% (95% CI: 30-231%). Migraine without aura raised both risks by approximately 25%. The other prospective studies that were identified gave broadly supportive results, and suggested that the risks from migraine were attenuated with age. It would be prudent for women who suffer migraine with aura to seek medical advice and consider lifestyle changes in order to improve their cardiovascular risk profile.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine with Aura / complications
  • Migraine with Aura / epidemiology*
  • Migraine without Aura / complications
  • Migraine without Aura / epidemiology*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / complications
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Women's Health