Migraines, Heart Disease, and Sleep Apnea

Most of us think of headaches as being separate from heart disease. But with the human body, everything is ultimately related. Take for example, a recent study that found that the presence of migraines raises the presence of cardiovascular risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This may be new news for many people, but this is what I've been saying for years. 


What most research studies never say, however, is what causes what. The scientific method dictates that you can only prove a statistically probably likelihood of association, not cause and effect. While we've made enormous strides in medical research, the scientific method has one major flaw: It can only make assumptions between two independent variables. It can never see the "big picture."


The big picture here is that most people with migraines have narrowed upper airways, and narrowed upper airways leads to obstructive sleep apnea and heart disease later in life, along with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke. In almost every situation when I see a younger patient with migraine, one or both parents usually snore severely and most likely have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea.


The problem is that migraines, and headaches in general, are treated by neurologists, whereas TMJ headaches are treated by dentists and sinus headaches are treated by ENTs. As far as I'm concerned, they're all aggravated by poor sleep quality from frequent obstructions while sleeping.


Do you have migraines or headaches in general? Do your parents snore, and if so, what kind of medical problems do they have? Please enter your comments in the text box below.

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