17 January 2013
Women who experience severe migraines that result in their visual field being affected could be at a greater risk of experiencing a heart attack and a stroke.
This finding is considered a breakthrough, as previously it was thought that the only real indicator that a woman was at risk of a stroke or heart attack is high blood pressure.
Now though, this type of headache, which is known as migraine with aura – where flashing lights also flare up during an episode – is thought to be an indicator.
It is also common for people to experience the sensation of light is flickering in their eyes, the appearance of zigzag-like lines and temporarily blurred vision.
"After high blood pressure, migraine with aura was the second strongest single contributor to risk of heart attacks and strokes," commented Dr Tobias Kurth, lead author of the study.
"It came ahead of diabetes, current smoking, obesity, and family history of early heart disease."
Heart disease is the single biggest killer of women in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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