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Many people don’t realize that migraine is an extraordinarily prevalent neurological disease, affecting 39 million American men, women and children and 1 billion worldwide.
Everyone either knows someone who suffers from migraine or struggles with migraine themselves. It is the third most prevalent illness in the world – 12% of the population, including 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children – has migraine. Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine.
Migraine can be extremely incapacitating. It is the sixth 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 have attacks once or twice a month, more than 4 million adults have chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month. And many have a migraine just about every day.
In addition to the attack-related disability, many sufferers live in fear knowing that at any time an attack could disrupt their ability to work or go to school, care for their families, or enjoy social activities. More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine attacks.
Migraine is a public health issue with serious social and economic costs.
Healthcare costs are 70% higher for a family with a migraine sufferer than a non-migraine affected family. Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraine are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the U.S. American employers lose more than 157 million workdays due to migraine each year. Beyond the burden of migraine itself, having migraine increases the risk for other physical and psychiatric conditions with the resulting increase in disability and healthcare costs. In 2015, the medical cost for treating chronic migraine was over $5.4 billion, however, these sufferers collectively spent over $41 billion treating their entire range of conditions.
Migraine remains poorly understood and is frequently undiagnosed and undertreated. 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. The vast majority of migraine sufferers don’t seek medical care for their pain.
In 2020, there are about 700 certified headache specialists in the U.S. and 39 million sufferers. More than half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed. Although 25% of sufferers are candidates for preventive treatment, only 12% of all sufferers receive it.
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.