People suffering from migraines and complaining of auras run a higher risk of mortality due to heart disease and stroke though individual risk for a migraine patient is comparatively lower, new research suggests.

The studies, published in the online edition of the BMJ, quotes specifically from two research projects. The first one was conducted by Larus Gadmundsson from the University of Iceland, who researched the impact of mid-life migraines in 18,000 men and women born between 1905 and 1935 as part of the Reykjavik study launched to understand heart disease patterns in Iceland.

Based on a 26-year analysis, the team concluded that migraine patients who suffered from aura were at an increased risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. The second study conducted by Dr. Tobias Kurth and team at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France found that women with migraines and aura were at an increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke or bleeding in the brain.

Aura, which causes temporary visual or sensory disturbances before or during a migraine, is known to affect about one in five patients with reported migraines in the United States.

The researchers in Iceland also found that women with migraine and aura were also at an increased risk of dying from causes other than cardiovascular disease or cancer. The authors reported that individual risk faced by migraine sufferers with aura was low.

This means that healthcare specialists should focus on efforts to cut down their risk of heart disease related death by attempting to eliminate conventional risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol.

Additional research is needed to learn more about the link between migraine with aura and increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other causes, the team said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

"Finally, studies are needed to determine if reducing the frequency of attacks with migraine preventive treatment might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," Gudmundsson and colleagues concluded.