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Watch out for secret stroke risk

If you're young , you probably don't think about suffering a stroke. But in some cases, youth is no protection against this killer.

Many migraine sufferers are familiar with the added agony of auras -- stabbing or flashing light during a migraine that can make the simplest activity a nightmare. Now scientists are saying there may be a link between migraine auras and strokes, no matter what your age.

Almost half of all people experiencing migraines plus auras may also suffer from a dangerous heart condition -- one that could allow blood clots to flow directly into the brain. This condition, called patent foramen ovale, means you are a prime candidate for a stroke. In fact, an Italian study found that having migraines with auras was the only risk factor for the women under 35 who had suffered a stroke.

Here's the evidence of a connection between migraines and stroke :

Many people report their strokes occur during a typical migraine attack. severe headaches occur in 25 percent of strokes.

Researchers found that during the aura phase of young migraine sufferers, blood flow to the brain was severely restricted -- almost reaching stroke-causing levels.

Many people suffering from migraines also have blood that's more likely to clot. This could be due to a defect in the cells lining the heart and blood vessels.

If you are a young woman who has migraines plus auras, most doctors will tell you not to smoke or take birth control pills -- two factors that will raise your risk of stroke even higher. And anyone with migraines plus auras should see a heart specialist.

     
     

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