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The Dangerous Link Between Migraines and Heart Health

Migraine headaches are so common that Americans dish out more than $1 billion every year to get relief from them. You may want to even be more diligent in finding a way to treat them, considering a new study that discovered people who live with migraines have a "riskier" profile for cardiovascular disease than those without them.

The study of some 5,700 residents of the Netherlands provided a cardiovascular risk profile of about 600 patients with migraine attacks, including those who experience an aura (a visual or other hallucination that precedes a migraine). A third of those with migraines experienced aura symptoms before a headache occurred.

For reasons scientists say aren't clear, patients who suffer from migraines, and especially those who experience auras, have a higher risk of a serious cardiovascular problem. Migraines by the numbers:

  • Forty-three percent of patients were more likely to be smokers.
  • Those who suffered from aura symptoms along with their migraines were four times more likely to experience a stroke or heart attack before age 45.
  • The aura/migraine connection also accounted for higher blood pressure (76 percent) and elevated cholesterol (43 percent) levels.
  • Men with migraines were almost twice as likely to have a father with a history of early heart attack.
  • Both men and women with migraine overall were 1.78 times more likely to have a mother with a history of early heart attack.

In my practice, I've found most migraines seem to be triggered by a food-based reaction to wheat, dairy, sugar, artificial preservatives or chemicals. Migraines can be improved by eliminating these foods and incorporating the other eating plan measures as spelled out in my nutrition plan as well as eating foods better suited to your body's unique nutritional type.

I've also found migraines to be an example of a physical problem that also has an underlying emotional cause. Psychological acupuncture approaches are incredibly effective in treating headaches and are also great tools for targeting emotional causes. For this, I recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), the energy psychology tool that has been incredibly successful in providing permanent relief to many of my patients.

EurekAlert February 21, 2005

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