The study, led by Dr. Kathryn M. Rose, research assistant professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health, showed, however, that migraines and such were not associated with coronary heart disease.
"Our findings suggest that the higher prevalence of chest pain, but not coronary disease, among those with migraines or other severe headaches may be related to something other than heart disease," Rose said. "For example, people with migraines might have greater sensitivity to pain or be more prone to vasospasms.
"What our work does not say is that people with headaches should ignore chest pain since that is an important symptom of a number of conditions, including coronary disease," she said.
A report on the research appears in the Dec. 28 issue of the journal Neurology. Besides Rose, authors are doctoral student April P. Carson of UNC; Catherine P. Sanford of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Paul Stang of Galt Associates Inc.; Dr. C. Andrew Brown of the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and Drs. Aaron R. Folsom and Moyses Szklo of the University of Minnesota and of the Johns Hopkins University schools of public health, respectively.
The study involved analyzing health data from 12,409 black and white men and women, who participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. That research is a long-term, multicenter investigation of factors associated with hardening of the arteries in four U.S. communities and how the illness progresses.'"/>