National Migraine Centre

Migraine and stroke

On May 23, I was at work when a co-worker noted that I was slurring my speech and appeared to be talking out of the right side of my mouth. Both she and my boyfriend also noticed that my emails and texts were riddled with spelling and syntax errors. I am a bit of spelling and grammar snob, and this was unusual for me. After a few hours, I went to the ER.

An MRI revealed that I had a stoke, specifically "acute infarcts in the right superior frontal gyrus, with a larger infarct in the right anterior parietal lobe." While in the hospital, I had an echocardiogram with bubble study and a CT of my brain and carotid arteries. These tests all came back normal or negative or whatever medical speak is for good. Blood work revealed slightly elevated cholesterol. The treating neurologist told me that my stroke(s) were caused by migraines.

I am a 42-year old non-smoker. I do not have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. I am overweight and discovered at the hospital that I have slightly elevated cholesterol. I was diagnosed with migraines in 2009 and prescribed 60 mg propanylol daily and 100 mg sumatriptan. In the few days before the stroke, I had a bad migraine and took sumatriptan. In October 2013, I was in a car accident and suffered whiplash and a torn meniscus in my knee. Since then, my migraines increased substantially.

I see the neurologist for a follow up appointment on June 19. I am taking 81mg of aspirin , 20 mg of lipitor, and 80 mg propanylol. I do not get enough sleep and have a high-stress job. I am working on getting enough sleep, managing stress, and eating at regular times. I have given up diet coke and reduced my coffee intake to one coffee a day with no espresso. I am trying to identify my migraine triggers and avoid them. I am worried about suffering another stroke. I also neglected to ask the neurologist what to do if I have another migraine. Do I need to go to the ER? I felt a migraine coming on last night (my first since suffering a stroke) and freaked out. A xanax, OTC advil migraine, and a good night sleep helped. Am I at a higher risk for suffering another stroke?

Thanks for listening. Any advice or information is greatly appreciated. Thank you! Julie

4 Replies

Please see my post on here from earlier! You need to be tested for Hughes Syndrome/Antiphopholipid Syndrome, frequently missed by Neurologists, not always! The blood tests are cheap: Your GP or the neurologist can do them:

Just to rule it out, it is an autoimmune disease which makes the blood sticky and more likely to clot! MaryF


I think you have had a very frightening experience but reading all the detail I would say that a forum isn't the place to get a definitive answer as the cause may well be multifactorial. I would suggest further discussion with consultant to ask on what basis \ evidence is the cause of your stroke the migraines Strokes can be associated with migraines eg hemiplegic migraines may make someone more vulnerable but you need to know the mechanism. Also you mentioned bubble tests Was that for pfo?. And are they sure it was OK? Pro is strongly associated with both migraines and stroke but the cause is the pro not the migraine. I had a pro closed to prevent stroke as it is one of the biggest causes in young stroke suffers. It didn't stop my migraines though. Good luck and most of all look after yourself.


One of the first things I hope they told you is to stop taking the sumatriptan if you have had a stroke or are a stroke candidate you should NOT be taking triptans. I was just a stroke candidate and had them taken from me.

What is the most important information I should know about Sumatriptan?

Sumatriptan (Oral/Nasal)

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to sumatriptan, if you have any history of heart disease, or if you have coronary heart disease, angina, blood circulation problems, lack of blood supply to the heart, uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe liver disease, ischemic bowel disease, a history of a heart attack or stroke, or if your headache seems to be different from your usual migraine headaches.

Follow up information on that specifically can be found at:


If you are at risk of another stroke you don't want to increase the risk by continuing with a stressful job. Is it a job where your employer could be flexible and let you work at home or tele-commute? I hate to say it, but perhaps you should consider taking time off work to relax and de-stress. Try to do something to keep your mind engaged in something to keep you occupied.


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