For some people, the answer might be “yes.”
According to U.S. News & World Report, more than a quarter of the people who suffer from migraines have a common heart defect. It’s called PFO – which stands for Patent Foramen Ovale. And it occurs when two curtains of tissue between the chambers in the heart never fully join. The upshot is, some blood goes directly from the heart’s intake side to its outflow side. Bypassing a trip through the lungs, where it gets filtered and oxygenated. It also sometimes lets small blood clots through, which can cause strokes.
So, how did researchers find this potential heart-headache connection? Cardiologist Mark Reisman of Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center was treating stroke victims by sealing the hole in their heart with a mesh patch. And on follow-up visits, patients mentioned their migraines were gone.
Intrigued, he surveyed almost 200 stroke victims with similar heart defects. More than one-third of them had migraines, too. After the hole was closed, 50 percent of migraine sufferers were completely cured. And many others had fewer headaches.
They also discovered that the treatment was most effective for people who have migraines with bright flashes of light called “auras.”
But what’s the connection? Researchers believe that when certain particles or hormones don’t get filtered out of the blood, it can trigger a migraine.
There’s a lot of testing left to do. But if they ever decide that fixing a heart defect might get rid of migraines, we’ll definitely let you know.