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We all feel concerned about the growing body of research linking migraines to heart attacks and strokes. So, what can we do to lower our risks? In this issue we explore seven strategies that make a difference. We also look at how to pack a migraine survival kit when you travel, and why tea may not be such a healthy drink for migraine sufferers.

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The Migraine-Stroke Link: 7 Ways to Reduce Your Risks

As you know, more and more evidence points to migraines being a risk factor for developing cardiovascular problems. Having migraines limits our lives in so many ways already. We certainly don’t want them to limit our life expectancy as well! So, what can we do to reduce our risks of suffering a heart attack, blood clot or stroke? We can of course follow the advice that applies to everyone, not just migraine-sufferers: exercise, a healthy diet, stress management. But there are special considerations if you also suffer migraines. So, let’s look at strategies that can help you reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines and your risks of heart disease and stroke.

  1. Eat healthy. For everyone, this means limiting quantity, as well as fat, salt and red meat. For migraine sufferers, it also means avoiding your food and beverage triggers. Remember, even “good” foods can be bad for you: if you’re sensitive to tannins, for example, eating fresh grapes or drinking that heart-healthy glass of red wine can bring on a migraine. Also, eat regularly­ to avoid spikes and drops in blood sugar that can trigger an attack.

  2. Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight is itself a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Plus, studies show that the more overweight a migraine sufferer is, the more likely he or she is to experience intense and more frequent migraines

  3. Stay active. Aim for at least two and a half hours of moderate aerobic physical activity per week. If you suffer from exercise-induced migraine or other forms of chronic pain, avoid high-intensity workouts in favor of activities like walking or swimming. Dehydration can trigger migraines, so drink plenty of water. Sweating can deplete magnesium, so consider supplementation to replenish this key nutrient.

  4. Understand your migraine. Migraine with aura may raise your risks or developing serious cardiovascular problems. Many migraines are accompanied by nausea, feeling “hyper,” and sensitivity to light, sounds or motion. These sensory symptoms are not necessarily auras. Only about 25% of migraine sufferers experience migraines with aura. It is the intensity of these sensations can indicate a true migraine aura. Since aura symptoms (and the painful migraine itself) are thought to be triggered by the spasming of the brain’s blood vessels, it’s important to keep these blood vessels toned and as resilient as possible. Natural preventatives like Petadolex® and Dolovent™ help with this, and they promote healthy energy metabolism and blood flow the brain as well.

  5. Ask your doctor about baby aspirin. Baby aspirin won’t tackle the pain of a severe migraine, but many doctors recommend taking one for another reason: to reduce the risk of stroke.

  6. Consider reducing your exposure to estrogen. Contraceptives, HRT, etc. Epidemiological studies suggest a relationship between estrogens, migraine, and stroke in women before menopause.

  7. Reduce your use of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. For over a decade, the FDA has recognized the potential impact NSAIDs can have on heart health, even with short-term use. This is an added danger for migraine sufferers who may use these drugs over long periods of time. Use natural migraine prevention options to reduce attacks—and the need for painkillers.

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Here’s what goes in the “essential” kit:

  • Medication. Pack a few doses of your migraine meds plus anti-nausea medication. To clear security checkpoints, they need to be in original packaging.
  • Plastic bag. Great to have if you’re sick at your stomach.
  • Moist towelettes. Good for freshening up. For a cool compress, fill one with ice.
What else should you pack? Check out our complete migraine travel toolkit: CLICK HERE

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The Hidden Migraine Trigger in Coffee and Tea (It's Not Caffeine)

When we hear about tannins, we usually think of them as the substance in wine that can trigger headaches. But tannins are in many other foods and drinks—including tea and, in much smaller amounts, in coffee—and these compounds aren’t beneficial for all people. For starters, tannins in coffee and tea may trigger migraines in those sensitive to them. Even in small doses, tannins can also interfere with digestion and inhibit the absorption of nutrients like iron.

The most tannins are found in green and herbal teas. The levels of tannin in rose hip tea, for instance, can reach 270,000 ppm, compared to 90,000 ppm in coffee. Tannins increase the longer the coffee is brewed, or the tea is steeped.

To minimize the risks of headaches: Steep coffee or tea quickly to release the caffeine without intensifying the tannins. Adding milk can also offset the effect of the tannins.

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Dolovent™
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All-in-one, clinical strength supplement for correcting Magnesium, B2 and CoQ10 deficiencies associated with neurological discomfort.

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