Understanding the Risks of Migraine and Men

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Men get migraines, too.  As with women and migraines, the risk may involve more than head pain.

Migraine headache is a complex condition with a cause that remains elusive to researchers.  In both genders, migraines have numerous triggers.  Diet, exercise, stress, genetics, hormones, and underlying physiology are all implicated when it comes to headaches and migraines.  The symptoms and treatment of migraine in men is approximately the same as it is for women.

While women are more likely to suffer from migraine due to hormonal fluctuation, approximately nine percent of men suffer from migraine episodes.  Migraine reduces quality of life, and leads to work and leisure time lost to disability.  Men are less likely to seek medical help for migraines which may put them at greater risk for a couple of reasons.  Here’s why.

Migraine in men, like women, is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  Women who suffer migraine, particularly those who experience visual disturbances called aura, have an elevated risk of cardiovascular event.

A 16-year study using data from the Physicians’ Health Study looked at data for more than 20,000 men, and focused on 1,500 who were identified as suffering chronic migraines between the ages of 40 and 84.  Compared to those who did not suffer migraine, the men who did experience migraine had a 24 percent higher risk of heart attack.

A Loyola University study shows men and women who suffer migraine with aura have double the risk of suffering a stroke in the brain, called an ischemic stroke.

This sobering information clarifies a danger to men in middle age who suffer migraines.  While toughing it out with a painkiller will eventually ease the pain, it will not reduce heightened risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Heart And Mind—What’s The Connection?

A headache is all in your head, right?  Not necessarily.  While a tension headache may be caused by the tightening of muscles and nerves in your head and neck, a migraine headache is related to changes in the brain which could be a result or cause of errant electrical and chemical signaling throughout the body.

Women are more likely to seek medical treatment for any ailment, including headaches.  For men who are less comfortable getting healthcare, a severe headache could be trouble for several reasons:

  • For men who do not typically suffer any kind of headache, sudden severe head pain could be a signal of a serious underlying condition including a brain aneurysm, an intracranial abnormality, or serious infection.
  • Migraine or headaches could alert your doctor to a problem with atherosclerosis (fatty vascular build-up), or serious problem with high blood-pressure.
  • Serious pain of any kind can be disabling and diminish quality of life. Seek medical help for severe migraines and headaches.

Whether you are male or female, be sure you speak up about your headaches when you see your physician.  Be sure your concern is taken seriously.  Mention headache frequency, characteristics, and history of headache or cardiovascular disease in your family or extended family.  Your doctor may order imaging and other tests to rule out serious underlying conditions that could be causing your pain.

Speak With Experienced Malpractice Attorneys If You Are Misdiagnosed

When the medical care you receive is negligent or below the expected standard of care, the legal team at Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A delivers aggressive legal service on your behalf.  Call us at 410-234-1000 to schedule a free, confidential consultation at our offices in Baltimore, Maryland, or in Washington, D.C.