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Migraines in Young Adults Could Be Warning Signal Of a Stroke, Research Claims 

New extensive research found that for younger generations, migraines could indicate an increased risk of stroke, according to new research. 

Traditional vs. nontraditional risk factors 

The study, published in the AHA (the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes) Journal, observed the contributions of traditional and nontraditional risk factors among women and men in the 18–55 age group. 

More common among women 

Despite women suffering from less traditional risks, like diabetes, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse, strokes were found to be more common in women than men younger than 45. 

Nontraditional risk factors 

The study revealed that nontraditional risk factors, including migraines, blood clotting disorders, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and kidney failure, can indicate strokes in people younger than 45. Among those younger than 35, nontraditional risks were linked to 43% of strokes in women and 31% in men. 

Shedding light on nontraditional risks 

Lead author Dr. Michelle Leppert said the study aimed to understand stroke risks among young adults, and it concluded that nontraditional risks were higher for younger generations. However, Leppert, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, believes that traditional risks should not be ignored. 

Strokes are on the rise among younger people 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800,000 people in the US suffer stroke each year. But, there is a rise in strokes among younger people, which is why Dr. Leppert thinks the underlying mechanisms need to be examined further. Hailey Bieber said that she had a mini-stroke in 2022 at 25. Kid Cudi had a stroke at 32. 

Strokes in numbers 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that the most common age for strokes in men is 71, while for women, it is 76. The traditional risk factor, high blood pressure, was the most common stroke risk among those 45 to 55 years old. In the Gen-X group, nontraditional risks were responsible for 19% of strokes in men and nearly 28% in women.

Debunking myths 

The data gave a false sense that strokes only impact older generations. There are also misconceptions about stroke risks, which the study highlighted. Migraine was found to be the most crucial nontraditional risk factor among people aged 18 to 34. It was found to be related to 20% of strokes in men and almost 35% in women.

Study background 

The data was collected from 2012 to 2019 from the Colorado All Payer Claims Database. The selected subjects were 18 to 55, 52% were among women, and more than 73% were ischemic or clot-caused strokes. The study separated genders, but race and ethnicity were missing. 

Migraine is a common condition 

Migraine affects around 40 million Americans, and it is a headache with severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation. It is more common among women since hormonal changes are among the factors that are common among younger women. Additional risks of migraines include stress, sleep disruptions, or improper diet. 

This was likely the most crucial research 

Leppert’s study was not the first to link migraine to risks of stroke, but it is the first to demonstrate just how much stroke risk may be attributable to migraines. Other significant factors included thrombophilia and valvular heart disease. 

These findings surprised researchers 

Researchers were surprised to find that nontraditional risk factors were equally important as traditional risk factors in the development of strokes in young men and women. 

Stroke risks and birth control 

Women who smoke or were previously diagnosed with blood-clotting disorders are the most likely to suffer a stroke while taking oral contraceptives, a 2018 study found. The researchers, Caitlin Carlton, Matthew Banks, and Sophia Sundararajan, shared that oral contraceptive use in patients with migraine is limited and conflicting. 

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