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May 12, 2003

Headache and Stroke: Two Common Disorders or Commonality of Cause?

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Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(9):1005. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.9.1005

THE POTENTIAL relationship between headaches in general and migraine in particular with an increased stroke risk has become somewhat clearer in recent years. Several studies demonstrated that patients with migraine are at increased risk for stroke compared with people without migraine.1,2 The pathophysiological link between migraine and stroke risk remains unclear. Potential explanatory mechanisms for the association of migraine with increased stroke risk include abnormalities of platelet function, cardiac disorders associated with both conditions such as mitral valve prolapse, and the excess production of neurotransmitters and vasoactive substances in patients with migraine.3-5 It does not appear that any of these potential mechanisms adequately explains the apparent increased stroke risk in the migraine population.

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