Migraine and Stroke: How to Recognize the Difference Between Them

Migraine and stroke are both prevalent brain and neurological problems, but is there a relationship between the two? Migraine is a chronic medical disorder that affects around 12% of the population in the United States. Stroke is a potentially lethal medical illness. It causes long-term impairment in more than half of those over the age of 65 who survive it.

Some migraine symptoms may resemble those of a stroke, leading to misdiagnosis of these diseases. There is now emerging evidence that certain types of migraine episodes may increase your risk of stroke in certain situations. In this post, we’ll look at the parallels and distinctions between migraine and stroke, as well as other probable connections.

What are the distinctions between a stroke and a migraine?

A stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency, but migraine is a chronic medical condition that may occur many times each month. A stroke is a kind of cardiovascular illness (heart and blood vessel disease). A stroke was responsible for one out of every six fatalities caused by cardiovascular disease in 2018. A migraine attack may be excruciatingly painful, yet it seldom has long-term consequences or results in death.

Other distinctions include the age and timing of commencement. People who suffer a stroke will normally have one in their lifetime, and the chance of having a stroke increases with age. Chronic migraine occurs when you suffer migraine attacks for more than 15 days per month for three months or longer. Chronic migraine generally begins before the age of 40. There are also distinctions in the symptoms you may feel if you have a migraine vs a stroke. We’ll go through symptoms in more depth later, but here’s a short review of the symptoms that are specific to each condition:


  • vomiting or nausea
  • alterations in vision or hearing
  • seeing an aura or a glow
  • terrible headache


  • numbness or tingling that is frequently limited to one side of the face or body
  • paralysis or facial or limb weakness
  • dizziness or difficulty balancing
  • a strong headache that comes on suddenly (commonly referred to as the “worst headache of your life”)

Common migraine and stroke symptoms

Stroke and migraine are two very distinct illnesses, yet certain symptoms may overlap. It may be difficult to detect the difference in certain circumstances. Both migraine and stroke may cause the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • sharp or sudden pain
  • vision changes or vision loss
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • face numbness or tingling
  • numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • pulsating in the head or face
  • high blood pressure


The American Stroke Association suggests learning “FAST” to spot stroke warning signals so you can receive care right away:

  • F: face drooping (or numbness)
  • A: arm weakness (or numbness)
  • S: speech difficulty
  • T: time to call 911

Is there a link between migraines and strokes?

You may have both a migraine and a stroke, and some migraine types may raise your chance of having a stroke. According to one 2018 retrospective research study, experiencing classical migraine (migraine with aura) may increase your chance of having an ischemic stroke (caused by blood clot).

A ministroke, also known as a transient ischemic episode, was considered to be more prevalent among migraine sufferers. Having chronic migraine does not guarantee that you will have a stroke, although certain individuals may be at a higher risk.

What exactly is a migraine?

Migraine is a chronic illness with attacks lasting a few hours to a few days. It is defined as a neurological (nervous and brain) illness, and it generally has two primary symptoms: head discomfort and various types of sensitivities. Migraine hypersensitivities vary by individual. You may discover that migraines are caused by triggers such as specific foods, odors, or noises. The following are common migraine triggers:

  • stress
  • tension in the muscles
  • strong feelings
  • hormonal shifts
  • sleep deprivation
  • oversleeping
  • lights that are dazzling or flickering
  • changes in the weather

Experts are unsure why certain individuals suffer from migraines. According to some study, migraine headache may be caused by alterations in the blood flow in the brain. Medical research also indicates that migraine may be caused by a variety of factors, including blood flow, hormonal variations, and changes in brain nerves.

What exactly is a stroke?

Stroke is a brain blood vessel condition. It may happen for two reasons:

  • A blood vessel rips or ruptures, resulting in brain hemorrhage.
  • A blood clot obstructs an artery in or near the brain.

Both of these circumstances may prohibit blood and oxygen from reaching brain cells or tissues. This may result in brain damage. A stroke may occur unexpectedly and without warning. You may encounter the following symptoms if you are suffering a stroke:

  • difficulty speaking
  • slurred speech
  • difficulty understanding speech
  • confusion
  • severe headache
  • vision problems
  • seeing double
  • numbness or weakness in the face and body (usually on one side)
  • facial drooping on one side
  • paralysis (usually on one side of the body)

Certain lifestyle decisions, as well as your medical history and genetics, may all increase your risk of stroke. These predisposing medical variables are as follows:

  • blood pressure is too high
  • diabetes
  • high levels of cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • Obesity or being overweight

Among the lifestyle aspects are:

  • sedentary lifestyle with insufficient physical activity
  • cigarette smoking
  • consuming alcohol

A stroke may happen at any age, although the risk increases with age. You are also at greater risk if you are Black. A Reliable Source for Stroke

What are the available treatment options?

Migraine and stroke both involve blood arteries in the brain, but their origins, consequences, and therapies are distinct. Both may induce acute symptoms, such as discomfort, that may need immediate medical treatment. If you have a migraine, your doctor will prescribe pain relievers as well as drugs that widen the blood vessels in your brain. Injectable muscle relaxants in the jaw and head may also aid in the reduction of migraine attacks.

Strokes might leave you permanently disabled. Treatment is determined on the kind of stroke. Medication may be required to break up clots and reduce your blood pressure. If you have long-term stroke symptoms, such as difficulties speaking or walking, you may need physiotherapy and other types of treatment.

In Conclusion

Migraine is a common and curable ailment that may develop in infancy or adolescence. Stroke is a dangerous disorder that may occur at any age, although the probability rises with age. Migraine and stroke are different illnesses, yet they might share symptoms at times. In rare situations, some forms of migraine may increase your risk of stroke. Inform your doctor about any migraine symptoms you are experiencing, and get emergency medical assistance if you believe you are having a stroke.

Check Out More At @usahealthline

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