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Migraine is an extraordinarily prevalent neurological disease, affecting 39 million men, women and children in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide.
Everyone either knows someone who suffers from migraine, or struggles with migraine themselves.
- Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world.
- Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine.
- Amazingly, 12% of the population – including children – suffers from migraine.
- 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children experience migraines.
- Migraine is most common between the ages of 25 and 55.
- Migraine tends to run in families. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.
Most people don’t realize how serious and incapacitating migraine can be.
- Migraine is the 6th most disabling illness in the world.
- Every 10 seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room complaining of head pain, and approximately 1.2 million visits are for acute migraine attacks.
- While most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, more than 4 million people have chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.
- More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.
Migraine is not just a bad headache.
- Migraine is a neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms.
- It’s typically a severe throbbing recurring pain, usually on one side of the head. But in about 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected.
- In some cases, other disabling symptoms are present without head pain.
- Attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following disabling symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.
- About 25% of migraine sufferers also have a visual disturbance called an aura, which usually lasts less than an hour.
- In 15-20% of attacks, other neurological symptoms occur before the actual head pain.
- Attacks usually last between 4 and 72 hours.
For many sufferers, migraine is a chronic disease that significantly diminishes their quality of life.
- More than 4 million adults experience chronic daily migraine – with at least 15 migraine days per month.
- Medication overuse is the most common reason why episodic migraine turns chronic.
- Depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances are common for those with chronic migraine.
- Over 20% of chronic migraine sufferers are disabled, and the likelihood of disability increases sharply with the number of comorbid conditions.
Migraine disproportionately affects women.
- Migraine affects about 28 million women in the U.S.
- 85% of chronic migraine sufferers are women.
- Before puberty, boys are affected more than girls, but during adolescence, the risk of migraine and its severity rises in girls.
- Roughly 1 in 4 women will experience migraine in their lives.
- Three times as many women as men suffer from migraine in adulthood.
- About half of female sufferers have more than one attack each month, and a quarter experience 4 or more severe attacks per month.
- More severe and more frequent attacks often result from fluctuations in estrogen levels.
Migraine affects kids, too.
- Migraine often goes undiagnosed in children.
- About 10% of school-age children suffer from migraine.
- Half of all migraine sufferers have their first attack before the age of 12. Migraine has even been reported in children as young as 18 months. Recently, infant colic was found to be associated with childhood migraine and may even be an early form of migraine.
- Children who suffer are absent from school twice as often as children without migraine.
- In childhood, boys suffer from migraine more often than girls; as adolescence approaches, the incidence increases more rapidly in girls than in boys.
- A child who has one parent with migraine has a 50% chance of inheriting it, and if both parents have migraine, the chances rise to 75%.
Migraine is a public health issue with serious social and economic consequences.
- Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraine are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the U.S.
- In 2015, the medical cost of treating chronic migraine was more than $5.4 billion, however, these sufferers spent over $41 billion on treating their entire range of conditions.
- Healthcare costs are 70% higher for a family with a migraine sufferer than a non-migraine affected family.
- American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to migraine.
- U.S. headache sufferers receive $1 billion worth of brain scans each year.
- Migraine sufferers, like those who suffer from other chronic illnesses, experience the high costs of medical services, too little support, and limited access to quality care.
- Beyond the burden of a migraine attack itself, having migraine increases the risk for other physical and psychiatric conditions.
Migraine remains a poorly understood disease that is often undiagnosed and undertreated.
- In 2018, there are about 500 certified headache specialists in the U.S. and 39 million sufferers.
- More than half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed.
- The vast majority of migraine sufferers do not seek medical care for their pain.
- Only 4% of migraine sufferers who seek medical care consult headache and pain specialists.
- Although 25% of sufferers would benefit from preventive treatment, only 12% of all sufferers receive it.
In spite of the vast prevalence of migraine and its serious effect on individuals, families and the economy, research into the causes and treatment of migraine is severely underfunded.
- In 2015, NIH funding for migraine research was just $.50 per sufferer.
- The Migraine Research Foundation was founded in 2006 to address this lack of funding.
- Since 2006, MRF has awarded 72 grants to 91 investigators in 12 countries in such areas as basic science, genetics, childhood migraine, and studies investigating new treatments and therapies.
- 100% of all donations go to fund research and help sufferers as members of MRF’s Board of Directors cover all of the operating expenses.
The information provided here should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, or evaluation of any medical condition. The Migraine Research Foundation has made every effort to ensure that the information is accurate; however, we cannot warranty its reliability, completeness, or timeliness. © Migraine Research Foundation.