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BOSTON — The risk for developing hypertension was slightly higher in women with a history of migraine compared with women who do not have a history of the condition, according to new findings.
“This risk was strongest for the migraine without aura subgroup,” Pamela Rist, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, said in an interview with Neurology Advisor. “Some prior studies have suggested that migraine may be associated with hypertension, but this study was the first prospective cohort study to explore whether this association varied by migraine aura status.”
The results were presented at the 2017 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting.
According to Dr Rist, although previous research has shown an association between migraine and vascular disorders, including stroke and myocardial infarction, evidence of the association between migraine and the risk for developing hypertension is not yet conclusive.
This led Dr Rist and colleagues to evaluate a prospective cohort study of 29,047 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Study who did not have hypertension or were missing migraine information at baseline. The researchers classified women as having an active migraine with aura, an active migraine without aura, a past history of migraine, or no migraine history.
A physician-diagnosed or self-reported systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg were considered incident hypertension.
Since antihypertensive drugs can be used for migraine, women were censored if they reported initiating antihypertensive treatment and were not considered as incident hypertension cases.
During follow-up (mean, 12.2 years), there were 17,508 incident hypertension cases.
Compared with women who did not have a history of migraine, women who did had a 1.15 times greater risk for developing hypertension (95% CI, 1.11-1.20). The presence of migraine aura did not have a significant impact on this association, as the relative risk for migraine with aura was 1.10 (95% CI, 1.02-1.18) compared with 1.21 for migraine without aura (95% CI, 1.14-1.28).
In addition, women with a history of migraine had a 1.14 times greater risk for developing hypertension compared with women without migraine (95% CI, 1.06-1.22).
“In our large cohort of middle-aged and older female health professionals, we observed that women with migraine have a slightly higher relative risk of developing hypertension compared to women without a history of migraine,” Dr Rist said. “Given that hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it is important to monitor migraine patients for the development of hypertension and to develop effective strategies for preventing and treating hypertension among these patients.”
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Rist P, Winter A, Buring J, Sesso H, Kurth T. Migraine and the risk of incident hypertension among women. Presented at: 2017 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting. April 22-28, 2017; Boston, MA. Abstract S15.006.