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How much do genetics matter when it comes to migraines?

Dr. Nancy Shannon

Medically reviewed by Dr. Nancy Shannon, MD, PhD on August 18, 2020

The heritability of migraines (how likely you are to develop migraines if a family member has them) is quite high, approximately 50 percent if one of your parents has migraines and over 75 percent if both of your parents suffer from migraines. Over half of migraine sufferers have a close relative who suffers from migraines as well Over 40 genes for migraines have been found. If you do have a family history of migraines, you are likely to start having headaches at a younger age than someone who does not have family members with migraines.  Further, with your family history of migraines, you are likely to have headaches more often, you are likely to require medications to stop them more often, and you are more likely to develop aura.

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