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Migraine is an extraordinarily prevalent neurological disease

This is 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 neurological disease 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.
  • neurological disease is most common between the ages of 18 and 44.
  • neurological disease tends to run in families. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.
Neurological Disease

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 neurological disease migraine.

Migraine is much more than 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 neurological disease 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, neurological disease and the likelihood of disability increases sharply with the number of co-morbid conditions.

neurological disease 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.
  • More than 157 million workdays are lost each year in the US 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:

  • 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 2017, NIH funding for migraine research was about $.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.

Over 4 million adults suffer from Chronic Daily Migraine, when migraines occur on 15 or more days per month, and 85% of them are women.

People who suffer from chronic migraine use a combination of acute, preventive, and complementary treatments to try to control or lessen the incessant incapacitating pain. Depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances are common for those with chronic migraine, as are many other co-morbid conditions, such as bipolar disorder, arthritis and hypertension. About 88% of chronic migraine sufferers have at least one additional chronic comorbid condition. Over 20% of chronic migraine sufferers are disabled, and their overall quality of life is greatly diminished. The likelihood of disability increases sharply with the number of co-morbid chronic conditions.

Although there are many contributing factors to the progression from episodic to chronic migraine, medication over use is the most common. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause overuse headaches. Overuse involves using pain killers, triptans, or certain other medications more than 2-3 days per week, week after week and month after month. This can create a headache-worsening pattern that results in more headaches and the need to take more medicine. Not only is the pattern itself harmful, but while in this cycle, treatments that were once effective often doing work. The only way out of this cycle is to stop the pattern of overuse, which should always be done under a doctor’s care.

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.

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