Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 72-77

Migraine, cerebrovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome


1 Neurotrauma and Neurodegeneration, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
2 Headache Group, Institute of Neurology and The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Alexandra J Sinclair
Neurotrauma and Neurodegeneration, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Wolfson Drive, Edgbaston, Birmingham. B15 2TT
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: Allergan, Merck Sharp and Dohme Ltd. and Medtronic, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.100015

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Evidence is emerging that migraine is not solely a headache disorder. Observations that ischemic stroke could occur in the setting of a migraine attack, and that migraine headaches could be precipitated by cerebral ischemia, initially highlighted a possibly association between migraine and cerebrovascular disease. More recently, large population-based studies that have demonstrated that migraineurs are at increased risk of stroke outside the setting of a migraine attack have prompted the concept that migraine and cerebrovascular disease are comorbid conditions. Explanations for this association are numerous and widely debated, particularly as the comorbid association does not appear to be confined to the cerebral circulation as cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease also appear to be comorbid with migraine. A growing body of evidence has also suggested that migraineurs are more likely to be obese, hypertensive, hyperlipidemic and have impaired insulin sensitivity, all features of the metabolic syndrome. The comorbid association between migraine and cerebrovascular disease may consequently be explained by migraineurs having the metabolic syndrome and consequently being at increased risk of cerebrovascular disease. This review will summarise the salient evidence suggesting a comorbid association between migraine, cerebrovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome.


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