A new study suggests that if you suffered migraine headaches before menopause, you are at higher risk for high blood pressure once periods stop.
Migraines are most common in women in the years leading up to menopause. And although they experience fewer headaches after menopause, post-menopause is also when most women develop high blood pressure. Migraines are also a risk factor for heart disease.
The study followed more than 56,000 women who did not have high blood pressure or heart disease when they began menopause. Of them, more than 9,500 experienced migraines.
At the end of the 20-year study period, more than 11,000 women reported experiencing migraines, and just over 12,000 developed high blood pressure. Of the 12,000, more than 3,100 had suffered migraines.
Researchers concluded that women suffering migraines were 29-percent more likely to develop high blood pressure after menopause than those who did not.
According to one of the researchers involved in the study, people who suffer migraines generally show early signs of arterial stiffness. These stiffer, potentially smaller blood vessels can result in pressure.
The study does not prove that pre-menopause migraines will lead to high blood pressure, but it does suggest a link.
If migraine headaches pose yet another independent risk factor for high blood pressure, these results suggest that working to control other risk factors is important. The fewer heart disease risk factors you have, the better position you are in.
Do your best to eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise to keep blood pressure in a healthy range and limit other risk factors for heart disease.