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Smoking Linked with Increased Risk of Stroke for People Living With Migraine Disease


Migraine, particularly migraine with aura, has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, but new research indicates smoking may considerably raise the stroke risk among people living with migraine disease.

In a study of 1,292 migraineurs taking part in the Northern Manhattan Study—a study of stroke and stroke risk factors conducted by Columbia University—294 strokes, heart attacks, and deaths occurred over an 11-year period. The average age of study participants was 68. Researchers found that among smokers, migraine was associated with a 3-fold increased risk of stroke. No such link was found among non-smokers. Additionally, researchers found no association between migraine with or without aura and the risk of either stroke or heart attacks.

“Our findings may provide more evidence as to why quitting smoking is important for people who experience migraine,” said study author Teshamae Monteith, MD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The authors cautioned that this study could not prove a cause and effect relationship between smoking and increased strokes, but they do believe the findings align with those of previous research.

“Statistically, we could not rule out the possibility that the relationship between migraine and stroke in smokers was due to chance; however, we believe the association is consistent with other studies,” Dr. Monteith said in a press release.

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