Migraines, Heart Disease, & Sleep Apnea

One of the most common conditions that I see in my ENT practice is migraines. Not your typical classic migraine with the auras, light sensitivity and nausea, but the variations of migraine that involve the ears and sinuses. In fact, the vast majority of people who suffer from sinus pain and headaches are found to have migraines—if you perform CT scans, the sinuses will be completely normal. However, patients usually won’t believe me until they see the CT images, and after they respond to anti-migraine treatments.

In an often repeated study on migraines, researchers showed again that having migraines is linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and even death.

These results are not surprising, since obstructive sleep apnea is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease and increased risk of death (46% in people with severe sleep apnea). Poor sleep quality that results leads to hypersensitivity of various nerve endings. If it happens in your sinuses, you’ll feel pain, pressure, headaches, nasal congestion and post-nasal drip. If in your ears, hearing loss, ringing, dizziness, fullness and sensitivity.

Having a migraine is not normal. If you suffer from migraines, it’s you’re body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, that you’re not getting quality deep sleep.

Do you suffer from migraines? If so, do your parents have heart disease or died early from cardiovascular complications? Is like to hear your response in the response box below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Migraines, Heart Disease, & Sleep Apnea

  1. This blog caught my eye, as this is exactly what I have been dealing with for the last year or more. Diagnosed with migraine a year before my OSA/CSA diagnosis, my migraine events seem to have increased since I started on CPAP eight months ago. I am 100% compliant using my CPAP, but not entirely satisfied with the improvement in wellness. My docs think I am doing fine. I think I can tell some improvement, but want more. When I am in a “predome” mode, the cpap head gear can be very uncomfortable on the side of my head, making it more difficult to fall asleep. It can be really frustrating, but I always keep the gear on, and fall asleep anyway, maybe from exhaustion. I am wondering if I should seek out a neurologist sleep doc instead of my pulmonologist sleep doc, and maybe see an ENT in case there is anything that can help reduce the sinus issues besides flonase spray, antihistamines, and the occasional triptan med. I sometimes feel like I can’t breath well enough with my cpap due to the sinus swelling, which makes for a less than great night of sleep. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  2. I suffer with the non typical migraine. I have pressure, mild pain behind my eyes and nasal cavity that does tend to radiate to my right shoulder. I have no proof but I have always felt on cause is breathing related. I will go through nights of developing migraines during sleep. I will wake with a migraine during the night, not take a vasoconstrictor and although falling back asleep, I “think” about my migraine for the rest of the night. This is my 4th day in a row. I have not taken a pill (zomig) yet but I know if I want to be pain free I need to. How do I develop a better breathing pattern at night. My father had his first heart surgery at 45. He has sleep apena. I am 44 y female. I never felt the physicians take me serious when I say I believe my migraines are from breathing and barometric pressure.