Migraine Facts

  • 1 in 7 people in the UK suffer from migraine. (Migraine Action 2011)
  • Migraine affects twice as many women as men.(Migraine Action 2011)
  • Migraine affects people from all age groups (even young children) and all social classes.(Migraine Action 2011)
  • Migraine costs the UK around £2.25 billion per annum.(Migraine Action 2011)
  • Migraine costs the USA $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to migraine. (Migraine Research Foundation 2011)
  • A migraine attack can last for between 4 and 72 hours.(Migraine Action 2011)
  • Sufferers experience an average of 13 attacks each year.(Migraine Action 2011)
  • Around 60% of sufferers never consult their GP because they mistakenly think that nothing can be done to help them. There is a wide range of effective treatments now available including new products introduced during the past year.(Migraine Action 2011)
  • The number of people who suffer with migraine in the UK is the equivalent of the entire population of Wales and Scotland (Migraine Action 2011)
  • 190,000 migraine attacks everyday in the UK (Migraine Action 2011)
  • There are more people who suffer with migraine than people with diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined. (Migraine Action 2011)
  • It is the most prevalent neurological condition in the UK (Migraine Action 2011)
  • It is estimated that 10% of schoolchildren have migraine.
  • 2.75 million school days are lost each year due to the condition.
  • Children don’t always have a headache during a migraine attack; common symptoms include abdominal pain, a sensitivity to light, sound or smell, nausea and / or vomiting, confusion or lack of attention.
  • Around half of all migraineurs will have had their first attack by the age of 12.
  • Migraine affects girls and boys equally until the age of 12 when it becomes more common in girls.
  • Many girls experience their first attack around puberty.
  • 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)
  • Migraine is the least publicly funded of all neurological illnesses relative to its economic impact (Shapiro & Goadsby, Cephalalgia, September 2007)
  • In the UK, there are an estimated 190,000 migraine attacks every day (Steiner et al, Cephalalgia, 2003)
  • An estimated 25 million days are lost from work or school because of migraine (Steiner et al, Cephalalgia, 2003)
  • Just over a third (34.3%) of migraine sufferers face difficulties or discrimination at work because of their condition (The Migraine Trust, 2004)
  • Over half (54%) of migraineurs experience one or more attacks per month, and 13% claim one or more attacks per week (Steiner et al, Cephalalgia, 2003)
  • Women are more likely to have migraine attacks than men – 18% of women and 8% of men (Steiner et al, Cephalalgia, 2003)
  • Children can get migraine attacks too. Attacks can start at any age, but they usually start in children who are in their early to mid teens (Goadsby et al, New England Journal of Medicine, 2002)
  • A survey of neurologists found that up to one-third of all patients consulted because of headache – more than for any other complaint (WHO, Factsheet 277, March 2004)
  • Depression is three times more common in people with migraine or severe headaches than in healthy individuals (WHO, Factsheet 277, March 2004)
  • 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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