I. Am. So. Screwed.

The American Academy of Neurology has released reports from two studies that women who suffer migraine with visual aura have an increased risk for experiencing a “cardiac event” such as heart attack or stroke.

Migraine Barbie has Snapped!

Migraine Barbie has Snapped! (Photo credit: Deborah Leigh (Migraine Chick))

“The first study showed that migraine with aura is a strong contributor to the development of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. The Women’s Health Study involved 27,860 women, 1,435 of whom had migraine with aura. During the 15-year study, there were 1,030 cases of heart attack, stroke or death from a cardiovascular cause. The study examined the relative contribution of various vascular risk factors to these major cardiovascular events.”

“After high blood pressure, migraine with aura was the second strongest single contributor to risk of heart attacks and strokes,” said study author Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD, of INSERM, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Kurth is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “It came ahead of diabetes, current smoking, obesity, and family history of early heart disease.”

Hmmm.  I have hypertension.  I have migraine with aura.  I could stand to lose a little (okay, okay – maybe more than a little) weight.  I. Am. So. Screwed.

Grim Reaper (advertisement)

Grim Reaper (advertisement) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What is a girl (okay, okay, a woman pushing fifty sixty) supposed to do?  What does one wear for a cardiac event?  These are questions I am sure you want answered.

First, a girl can lower her risk by not smoking (check), lowering her blood pressure (check-ish), keeping her weight down (um, well, duly noted) and exercising (Ha! Fat freakin’… oh… I mean, duly noted).

As for what to wear for a cardiac event…this gal plans on wearing a red dress for a while, and when that Reaper asshat comes to get me, I hope to be wearing a little(r) black dress, out on the dance floor.

Stay tuned…


Filed under humor

58 responses to “I. Am. So. Screwed.

  1. I had read about your concussion,but was on vacation and couldn’t get my phone to leave a comment. I hope you have recovered from that!
    Actually women are screwed anyway. Most are under the impression that they will die of breast cancer, but it is heart disease that will take most of us.
    Don’t worry about it! A zombie apocalypse is imminent anyway… snicker….

    • Yes, I’m doing better though I still have occasional headaches and blurred vision, and I feel like my brain in moving in slow motion sometimes.

      I agree that most women do not recognize their heart risks – having yet another risk factor added to mine has been a wake up call, for certain.

      Will my red dress be appropriate for the zombie apocalypse?

  2. The grim repear nearly got me two years ago 🙂 watching the tv i felt the cheast pressure and i knew what was happening, so i rang the ambulance and away i went.
    A black dress sounds the right thing to wear.
    Get the weight of thats very important.

  3. Well, I am screwed right along with you. I’ve had migraines with aura since junior high. Plus both my parents have/had heart disease. At least I know how I’ll most likely die, right? all this is what makes me get on the dang dreadmill and exercise. I’d prefer not to see the grim reaper for awhile.

    • I call mine the “Dreadmill” as well. I am seriously thinking about building one of those treadmill desks I told you about…I have got to get moving more.

      I guess my profile says I’ll probably drop dead from the “Cardiac Event” but I’d be okay with getting run over by a beer truck.

      I truly fear stroke more than a heart attack, though.

      • I know, stroke is incredibly scary. My dad was ‘lucky’ I suppose that he just died of a massive heart attack and it was rather quick. I prefer to believe I’ll just die in my sleep.

        That treadmill desk made me laugh, but it would solve so many of my excuses for not exercising. I could even BLOG while exercising. Hot damn!

        • I’m going to look for some DIY plans and get working on that. I’m sure Al Roker’s cost several thousand dollars. I’d be happy if I could just hear the television from the room the treadmill is in. I don’t really listen to music too much, but I can watch television and walk for a long, long time.

          • I’m the same way. I love to watch some stupid TV show because it makes the exercising go by so much faster, I don’t even notice it’s been 30 minutes. But if I try to work out with music I try to keep up a pace and just want to give up.

      • Katy, I actually just put a board across the arms of my dreadmill and put my laptop on it. I catch up on blogs that way, although commenting is a wee bit challenging.

        • I thought about that, too – I need something to keep my mind busy or I won’t do it!

          • It really works well for me. I forget about the fact that I’m on the damn machine. And the “desk” I spent $60 bucks on doesn’t work. $6 for a board at Home Depo that I lean up against the wall when I’m not using it.

        • My ancient treadmill has sloping arms so that I am not able to just put a board across – I would love to do that. I have seriously just spent the last half hour looking at DIY treadmill desks!!! I might just have to make one ’cause that’s how I roll.

    • Maybe we can get on Twitter and tell Mr. Reaper to make an appointment?

  4. I’ve been concerned about my BP, too. I have started running because I know I need not only the exercise, but the mental outlet of hard exercise. I chose running because it’s cheap, but I think an activity where I get to beat the crap out of something/someone would be even better.

    I would wear something nice for a cardiac event. Something with a Valentine’s theme. But I may just wear my pajamas.

  5. Whoa, that’s me, too. Thank you for the warning. I’ve been trying to get motivated to lose 20 lbs–this helps.

  6. I was reading the comments up till now and was puzzled until I realized that I was confusing Mr. Reaper with Mr. Roker. Luckily, only one of those two guys recently admitted to crapping his drawers at the White House.

    As for knowing how the end will likely come, don’t discount the beer truck as a possibility just yet – or trying to read on a moving treadmill for that matter.

  7. Have you seen the you tube video “just a little heart attack”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7wmPWTnDbE I suspect if you’re used to dealing with migraine with aura pain this is part of the problem. 🙂 Go for the red dress!

  8. I read you piece and appreciated your photo of the girl with the vice on her head. As a migraine sufferer, I know all the things you say are true. You are not alone. There are lots of us migraineurs out there, and if it makes you feel better, I’ll be up that bar shaking my groove thing until the Reaper comes comes for me. (Or until someone asks me to get down.)

  9. WSW

    At the risk of being a pushy know-it-all (what else is new?), I can tell you that getting draconian with the sodium (less than 1500 mg a day — it requires a lot of label reading) enabled by husband to get off the high blood pressure meds he’d been on for five years (with little success) within a year. It’s ugly, but you can do it. His migraines, too, have decreased in frequency as a result. Doctors never tell you this, but I swear to you, it has been a life changer.

    The other thing for migraines — acupuncture. Stay with me here. I have a great Chinese medicine doctor and she has done WONDERS for a host of problems, from hot flashes to insomnia to golfer’s elbow. The needles aren’t particularly pleasant, but having given birth, I find the discomfort is relatively low and very brief.

    Of course the red dress idea is genius. Make sure you’re wearing inappropriate shoes with it.

    For what it’s worth.

  10. Scary. Funny. Entertaining. These two kinda mellow each other out don’t they. Thank goodness. Great post.

  11. As a fellow aura-migraine sufferer, I am counting on the knowledge I’ve learned in 13 years of medical research — that someone will come out with a study that says that women with aura-migraines do not have more stroke and heart attacks. That they in fact lead long and productive lives. That they are also funnier and better writers than migraine sufferers without aura.

    I used to get migraines (and other regular headaches) daily. I would immediately pop tylenol or advil at the first hint. Then I started learning about drug side effects, and stopped taking them. I almost never have migraines any more, except when I drink Chardonnay. There are other wonderful wines!

    And what to wear in the now unlikely event of a heart attack? Listen to your mother — clean underwear!

    • I know – red wine is one of the fastest and most reliable migraine triggers for me and I do love it. I love sangria, especially.

      Underwear, if you are going to wear it, should always be clean…

  12. Try not to worry too much…studies like this can only find correlations, not prove causality. I suggest Sahalie’s butterfleece sport pants for a cardiac event. They are so buttery, so fleecy, so comfortable.

  13. When I was about 30 I woke up one morning thinking I was having a heart attack — I had this intense feeling of pressure on my chest. Then I opened my eyes and realized it was just my cat.

    On a typical day, I spend about four hours on my exercise routine — three and a half hours of procrastination followed by 30 minutes on the stationary bike.

  14. I also suffer with aura migraines. Have never figured out a trigger, witht he exception of when I gett stressed, then suddenly relieved of the stress. They have reduced in frequency since menopause, so that may have been a contributing factor. It makes me crazy to think that they also may be connected to heart attack/stroke. My mother suffered with migraines and had a stroke several years ago. Now I have that stress to deal with!!

    • Ugh. Sorry to deliver the news – doesn’t mean we’ll have a heart attack or stroke – just that our risk is increased. I remember taking care of a nurse who had a heart attack – she also had horrible migraines with aura. She even looked like me! That should have been a real wake up call, but like I usually do, I hit the snooze button. Gonna take some steps to get my health issues under control and try to outrun the guy with the scythe…

  15. Well, I’ve got the migraine with aura, too. But at least I don’t have the hypertension. I’ve got the opposite, in fact. So maybe I’m not ready for the grim reaper…yet. Of course, with my dizziness, I could stumble in front of a bus!

  16. Life is ephemeral. I tend to comment that I could walk out the door and be hit by a piece of metal falling off a jet airplane engine and as easily be taken out by that. We exercise and diet and then our overweight, under exercised friends are our pall bearers. I do the best I can. Can’t change the genetics, all I can do is my best. That being said, with all the health problems I’ve got I’ve literally outlived every man (all four of them) I’ve ever loved. The last one died only recently. I’m sure none of them thought they’d predecease me. Who knew? (wry smile)

  17. Can’t believe you went with the Grim Reaper picture, too! What’s with all the thoughts of death swirling around us?

    If that son-of-a-bitch shows up anywhere near you, Katy, just hit him with some of that sassy attitude and send him crawling back to the gates of hell where he belongs. BOO yah!

  18. I LOVE the idea of dressing for a cardiac event. I’ll wear a fabulous muumuu while chain smoking and downing mimosas as I wait.

  19. How are you, dear?

    You know what? We are all screwed one way or another.

    Just enjoy. Savor. Eat dark chocolate. Stop worrying.
    Life is too short, babe. xxx

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