Migraines Are a Risk Factor for Heart Disease

The lifetime prevalence of migraines in Canada is estimated to be 24% in women and 9% in men (CADTH, 2017). Migraines can be debilitating causing cognitive dysfunction, neck pain, depression and anxiety. Migraines are caused by inflammation of the nervous system. A migraine aura (a migraine accompanied by visual or other sensory problems) is frequently experienced and is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and mental health concerns.

Despite knowing that migraines are associated with increased risk of stroke and heart attack, the risk of other common cardiovascular diseases is less established. This study (involving Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and Stanford University in California) is the first population based cohort study to examine these associations. This paper has been identified as one of the highest impact papers in February 2018.

Study Particulars

The study included 51,032 people with migraines and 510,320 people from the general population as the control group. Both groups were matched on age (average age at commencement of study was 36), sex and calendar year, with 19 years of follow up.

What this Study Ads

Migraines are more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease in people that experience an aura and in women more than men.

Migraines ARE a risk factor for:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Atrial fibrillation (rapid heart beat)
  • Venous thromboembolism (a blood clot that starts in a vein and travels to the lungs, blocking the blood supply to the affected part of the lung)

Migraines ARE NOT a risk factor for:

  • Heart failure or peripheral vascular disease


Canadian 2017 Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) suggest that magnesium be used as an alternative or as an adjunct to opioids for controlling migraines. Magnesium is a powerful analgesic that manages pain perception and reaction to peripheral stimulation.

Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug, is the first treatment option for migraine suggested by Canadian CPGs. However, diclofenac is associated with gastrointestinal side effects that many cannot tolerate. Fortunately, natural alternatives are available. Several clinical studies have shown that:

  • Serratiopeptidase is as effective as diclofenac but without the unwanted side effects
  • Curcumin reduces brain inflammation in depression (Am J Geriatric Psychiatry, 2017)

Combine the prophylactic and pain control benefits of EasyMag Magnesium Bisglycinate with the anti-inflammatory benefits of InflaCare-X (Serratiopeptidase and Curcumin) that may help to reduce the incidence and severity of migraines and may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Adelborg, K., Szepligeti, S.K., Holland-Bill, L., Ehrenstein, V., Horvath-Puho, E., Henderson, V.W., and Sorensen, H.T. (2018) Migraine and risk of cardiovascular diseases: Danish population based matched cohort study. BMJ 360: k96: doi:10.1136/bmj.k96 Hot Topic Small Talk – Volume 3, Number 2