Migraines and men are very loosely correlated, as migraine sufferers are predominantly women, by a three to one margin. Still, male migraines are just as debilitating, and may include health risks such as heart disease. Scientists have noted a significant parallel between migraines and men who are at high risk for heart attack.
An oft-cited study focusing on migraines and men in their 40s noted a correlation between male migraines and increased risk for heart disease by 42%, compared to men who don’t suffer from chronic migraine disorder. Doctors stress male migraine headache patients should submit to heart tests regularly, in order to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease.
Many doctors attribute blood vessel contraction and dilation for migraine attacks in men. Male migraine sufferers tend to have hypersensitive blood vessels that react automatically to various migraine triggers, constantly shifting open and closed, and sending pain signals to the brain. Over a period of time, blood vessel fluctuations have a taxing effect on the heart, increasing your risk for heart attack.
It’s understandable that many treatments for heart disease are also effective for preventing migraines. Prescription drugs formulated for preventing heart attacks and managing hypertension or hypotension work double-duty as effective migraine preventives. Calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and other blood pressure medications effectively prevent male migraines, and men diagnosed with chronic migraines may start taking them, even if they do not suffer from heart disease, or suspect that they are at risk for heart attack.
In addition to taking migraine medications for cardiovascular disease, male migraine patients should also implement a heart-healthy plan that includes reducing cholesterol, maintaining healthy body weight, managing stress, and quitting unhealthy habits like smoking or excessive drinking.
Of male migraines, migraines with aura most highly correlate with heart disease. In studies focusing on men and migraines, researchers noted an increased risk for heart disease among patients who experienced migraines with aura, versus those who experienced migraine attacks without aura. Migraine auras are unusual symptoms that foreshadow migraine attacks before they occur. Migraine aura symptoms include strange visual disturbances, described as shifting light patterns, notably crescent-shaped, colorful zigzag shapes, peripheral blind spots, and empty voids. Other symptoms may include sudden loss of speech, partial paralysis, and disorientation.