migraine and stroke

Migraine and Stroke

Stroke and migraine share certain symptoms, which may lead someone with a migraine to fear they are having a stroke. A migraine is a type of headache, caused by spasms of the arteries leading into the head and  stroke is the interruption of blood to the brain, which kills the cells in the immediate area and affected those in the surrounding areas. The most common type of stroke is the ischaemic stroke, which is caused by an embolism (clot or debris) blocking a blood vessel in the brain. A migraine doesn’t cause brain damage, either in the short or long term. A stroke results in brain damage that varies from mild to disabling. In severe cases, a stroke can cause coma or death. Migraine with aura has been consistently associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke. Most studies suggest that this association is particularly strong for younger women

Migraine aura often causes visual disturbances, such as   1)flashing lights,

2)zigzagging lines or

3)partial loss of vision. Other symptoms may include



6)speech difficulties and

7)muscle weakness on one side of the body.

These disturbing symptoms usually disappear within an hour. but in case of stroke ,  similar symptoms are caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Migraine aura is thought to be caused by over-activity of the brain cells. The gradual onset of migraine aura is due to the slow spreading of hyperactive nerve activity across the brain surface.

Stroke and migraine aura can have similar symptoms mainly depends upon the area of brain affected, the symptoms of stroke may include:

  •  There is Problem in vision, such as vision loss
  • Numbness and tingling of the face, sometimes on one side only
  • Speech disturbances are common
  • Muscle weakness, sometimes on one side of the bodyoccur
                                      Many times, transient ischaemic attack is mistaken for a migraine. A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is a minor stroke and a warning that a severe stroke may follow. The symptoms of a TIA are identical to those of a full stroke, but disappear within 24 hours. TIAs can appear hours, days, weeks or months before a full stroke.  TIAs need emergency treatment. It seems that TIAs are caused by tiny blockages to blood vessels. These blockages cause temporary symptoms before they dissolve. Migraine aura and TIAs share similar symptoms, such as speech disturbances, weakness and problems with vision. Since the symptoms of TIAs go away within hours, the person may mistakenly believe they suffered from migraine. The broad differences between a migraine and a TIA include:

  • Visual disturbances – in TIA, the only disturbance is vision loss, whereas visual disturbance in migraine includes flashing lights and zigzagging lines as well.
  • Speed of attack – in TIA, the symptoms occur suddenly. In migraine, symptoms spread slowly over a few minutes.
  • Age of onset – migraine tends to first occur when an individual is young, whereas stroke is more common in older people.