Does My Migraine Disease Protect My Heart?

Last updated: January 2022

When I was first diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome, I have to admit I felt a little scared. I had seen my dad deal with the symptoms and get his ICD implanted a few years prior.

Worry and fear

Though he was doing well with the ICD, I worried someday I would need the surgery, too. And until then, I knew there would be new restrictions on how I lived my life to keep myself safe from a cardiac event. Nothing seemed scarier to me than learning that I had a genetic condition that can cause my heart to stop, even in my sleep.

But the more I learned about what I should avoid or limit to prevent triggering an episode, the more I wondered if my own body’s design automatically prevented the worst thus far.

Migraine disease

You see, I have migraine disease. Often perceived as “just a headache” migraine is a debilitating disease that can cause attacks of head pain, light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting, among other symptoms.

Everyone experiences migraine differently, but a commonality is that many of us have triggers that can cause an attack to start. Some of my biggest triggers are bright sunlight and heat.

When I learned what to avoid for Brugada Syndrome, the list included things like hot yoga, getting dehydrated in the hot sun, and fevers. I said to the doctor: “I avoid all these things anyway!” I wondered if the combination of the two diseases canceled each other out.

Easier than the alternative

This may very well be wishful thinking. It certainly isn’t science-based. Maybe I think about my own body too much, though it can be hard to turn off the part of me that wants to stay vigilant and avoid triggers for both diseases. But still, sometimes I want to just spend a day on the beach and not worry about the consequences.

On the other hand, I suppose I could've been told by my cardiologist to avoid cool weather, cloudy days, and cold food - all good things for my migraine disease! That would have been much harder to deal with! So maybe my diseases help each other. Maybe getting heat-triggered migraine attacks is a warning system that’s cleverly designed so that I don’t get a Brugada attack. Or maybe (most definitely) it’s just a coincidence.

Either way, I’m thankful for the guidance from my doctors and hopeful that I’ll never progress to the point of needing an ICD.

The importance of preparation

In the meantime, I focus on good preparation. For example, for a day at the beach, I make sure to bring plenty of water and a brimmed hat and sunglasses. This helps me to not overheat and keeps me feeling good. Then, once I get to the beach, I don’t think about it. The preparation is done, and I can just enjoy myself.

Do you have any conditions that require similar limitations to heart failure? How do you use preparation to cope with them? Share with us below!

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