Migraine & resting heart rate

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I use a 'fitbit' fitness monitor which records my heartrate, and calculates my resting heartrate, & noticed that my latest migraine happened just after my resting heartrate had spiked.  I've not had another one since to find out whether this is a pattern but wondered if anyone else had any information, and whether this might be a useful 'early warning' sign.

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  • Posted

    Hi rjohnd, 

    I am currently bed bound in day 6 of a mammoth migraine and I wasn't going to reply to your post like most other post but I think I am researching something that might be of interest to you?

    So I am fairly light into my research but your post and something a physician mentioned to my partner during his dive medical (we are both pro scuba divers), is that PFOs are common for people who suffer with migraines!! 

    25% of the general population have this little hole in the heart between the two chambers, well it's more of a flap, it's relatively harmless- until like me you dive- anyway that's off topic. 

    So as I said, it may be worth you doing a little research as well? This is where I started.


    If this is the first you are hearing of this, maybe this will be useful?


    Anyway, this may not be useful at all to you. It just sparked a theory of thought for me and it turns out to be quite a 'something' for us migraineurs...

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    • Posted

      Well, that's scary!  ;-)

      Thanks for the information, and it's something I'll bear in mind for future consideration, particularly if that research turns something up (and I hadn't heard of PFOs before).

      I hadn't actually considered it a symptom of a particular medical condition;  rather, I was thinking it might be a general indicator of infection, stress or other potential triggers that people might have but not be consciously aware of.  

      Anyway, hope you feel better soon.

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  • Posted

    Sorry rjohnd!

    Different triggers for different people! I will speak with my doctor and see if it goes any where, sorry I know it was a lot to give you but the info is there if you want to look in to it. It looks scarily interesting!!

    Thanks smile

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  • Posted


    This is what I believe happens. You exercise, you body produces adrenaline, heart rate increases and bingo - migraine. Possibly because some people produce either too much adrenaline or aren't able to break it down. Too much adrenaline leads to anxiety and I believe a symptom of that is a migraine. People with migraine are 3 x more likely to suffer anxiety so I believe they are directly linked.

    It just so happens that Propranolol treats anxiety by controlling adrenaline and just happens to prevent migraines.

    Hope this helps.

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    • Posted

      There could be something in that although, when I'm fit enough to exercise regularly, I don't seem to see more migraines - if anything, fewer of them.  And, the more you exercise, the lower your resting heart rate will be, even if your pulse race goes to the max during exertion (and adrenaline).

      When you're suffering from a bug, however, your resting heart rate rises as you fight off the infection.  This is often advised as a good indicator that you should refrain from exercise but I've not seen anything about it being a warning for imminent migraine attack.  It has now happened a second time to me, after a bout of gastroenteritis, so I am taking this as a (totally unscientific) working hypothesis that, if I get a spike in my resting heart rate, assume a migraine is on its way and medicate at the first slight headache!

      Perhaps it's not exercise-induced adrenaline, which is healthy, but adrenaline as an ever-present 'background' noise in your system when the body's stressed?  Both stress and general illnesses have always been triggers for me.

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  • Posted

    I have noticed the same thing two times in a row
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