Is Migraine Dangerous?

Migraine headaches are a huge cause of suffering for individuals. They also cause a loss of productivity and many sick days. But are they dangerous?

It turns out that they are both for the individual migraine sufferer’s health and for accidents that may happen under the influence of a migraine.

suffering a migraine

Let’s look at migraine symptoms and what a migraine attack is like to understand the risks and hazards that migraines pose. Also, do migraines cause other medical conditions, or are they associated with other disorders?

Why Are Some Migraine Symptoms Dangerous?

Depending on the type of migraine, symptoms can vary. However, most migraine headaches can be divided into four stages:

  1. prodrome – symptoms that arrive 24-36 hours before an attack
  2. aura – starts right before a migraine and at the beginning of the actual attack – usually visual in nature
  3. attack – the most painful part of the migraine experience and the central part
  4. post-drome – the hangover or euphoria the day after a migraine attack


Prodrome symptoms are usually mild and don’t pose much danger. However, some people experience things like craving certain foods or strong mood swings.


The aura phase can come on quickly and could include visual impairment, weakness on one side of the body, tingling, or difficulty finding the right words to express yourself. So the answer to “are migraine auras dangerous?” is “yes.”

See: 2 Migraine Aura in a Row?

Visual impairment can be dangerous, such as oscillating lights or blind spots.

For example, imagine you are driving and stuck in traffic. You start to have blindness in part of your visual field. Blind spots can easily lead to collisions when driving. Collisions are dangerous!

So, it depends on what you are doing, but migraine aura can be dangerous.

I like having a warning that a migraine is coming.

Aura is a convenient early warning that allows me to get a head start on the pain by taking medication, or by engaging in a migraine meditation.


The attack is the hardest part of the migraine episode… the most painful part, lasting up to three days. Symptoms include long-lasting, intense pain, greater sensitivity to sensory stimulation, nausea, and vomiting.

Nausea and vomiting are not dangerous in themselves. Still, they can indicate deeper problems with the heart, the liver, or the nervous system.

Strong pain in the head from a migraine isn’t usually dangerous since those experiencing it feel compelled to rest and stay out of trouble.


Symptoms of the post-drome are also not dangerous. They primarily consist of continuing sensitivity to light and other sensory stimulation, as well as a hung-over feeling.

Migraines Might Indicate Other Dangerous Conditions

It’s important to understand the difference between migraines being linked to other conditions versus migraines being the cause of other conditions.

If a migraine were to cause other conditions, it would mean that, for instance, a migraine could trigger a stroke. But, so far, no medical evidence shows a migraine can cause a stroke. Of course, that applies to other illnesses and medical problems too.

Now that doesn’t mean that migraines can’t make a condition more likely, but that is different from being a cause.

For example, if you have frequent migraines interrupting your enjoyment of life, you are naturally more likely to experience depression.

However, it isn’t necessarily the case that you become depressed. You could have a different attitude towards migraines or find new activities that are not as affected by the chance of a migraine. Or you just might be a very optimistic person and a little thing like migraines doesn’t affect you!

So, are migraines dangerous in that they cause other conditions? No. But they signify that the migraine sufferer is more disposed to develop other ailments.

Comorbidities — Conditions More Likely To Be Present With Migraines

If you have migraines, you are more likely to have the following:

  • stroke
  • high blood pressure
  • seizures
  • obesity
  • chronic fatigue
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • epilepsy
  • restless leg syndrome

My personal feeling (and this is just me… I’m not a doctor, only a migraineur) is that some of these seem to make sense as personal reactions to migraines.

Allow me to explain.

Take obesity, for instance. Some people will react to migraines by becoming less active — it usually makes a migraine worse if you are busy. Less activity means a greater likelihood of obesity.

In addition, it makes sense to have more anxiety since your life does become more complex with migraines. For example, if you are employed, you might miss work and feel your job is in jeopardy.

Also, if you have a social engagement, a migraine may make it impossible to attend and increase your isolation leading to more depression and anxiety.


Unfortunately, migraines are a puzzle still unsolved by the medical community. Prevention is possible, but cures are rare and unreliable (try acupuncture!).

However, if you ask, “Is Migraine Dangerous?” the answer is “yes,” but with qualifications. They are not dangerous in the same way as a heart attack; if you have a heart attack, you could die from it.

You won’t die directly from a migraine. Still, aura, in particular, can cause vision problems that will be hazardous in certain situations, like driving or working with heavy machinery, which can be considered dangerous.

So, please learn your triggers and avoid them; you’ll have a happier and safer life.