Monday, September 5, 2011

Migraine Awareness Week

Each year, the Migraine Trust promotes Migraine Awareness Week to raise awareness of migraine as a serious health issue. Below are just some quick facts about migraine disease.
  • Migraine is a genetic neurological disease, characterized by episodes often called Migraine attacks (, 2010)
  • Among adults of all ages, migraine is one of the top 20 causes of disability expressed as years of healthy life lost to disability (The World Health Report 2001, WHO)
  • Severe migraine attacks are classified by the World Health Organisation as among the most disabling illnesses, comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis (Shapiro & Goadsby, Cephalalgia, September 2007)
  • There are about 100 million people with headaches in the U.S.; about 37 million of these people have migraines. The World Health Organization suggests that 18 percent of women and 7 percent of men in the U.S. suffer from migraines (, 2010)
  • Migraine is the least publicly funded of all neurological illnesses relative to its economic impact (Shapiro & Goadsby, Cephalalgia, September 2007)
  • Many people experience migraines lasting for at least four hours or may last for days. The range of time someone is affected by an attack is actually longer than the migraine itself, as there is a pre-monitory, or build-up phase, and a post-drome that can last one to two days (, 2010)
  • Depression is three times more common in people with migraine or severe headaches than in healthy individuals (WHO, Factsheet 277, March 2004)
  • There are a large number of migraine symptoms, the most common are (American Migraine Study II of almost 4,000 migraine sufferers in 1999):
              Throbbing, pulsating pain — 85 percent
              Light sensitivity — 80 percent
              Sound sensitivity — 76 percent
              Nausea — 73 percent
              Pain on one side — 59 percent
              Vision changes, blurred vision — 44 percent
              Aura — 36 percent
              Vomiting — 29 percent
    Other symptoms include:
              Sensitivity to smell
              Stiff neck
              Dizziness or dizzy spells
              Cloudy vision or other vision changes
  • Migraine remains undiagnosed and undertreated in at least 50% of patients, and less than 50% of migraine patients consult a physician (Pavone, Banfi, Vaiani & Panconesi, Cephalalgia, September 2007)

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