One in six people have a headache every day, the majority of them women

the headache is one of the most common ailments in the world. One team wanted to take stock and summarize the data from numerous studies available on the subject. What are the most common types of headaches? What are their durations ? Their work was published on April 12 in the journal The Headache and Pain Diary.

What are the most common types of migraine?

The authors considered all studies of prevalence and epidemiology on the subject “headaches” published between 1961 and 2020. The data was extracted and then exploited using two different statistical methods: two-dimensional analysis and a multiple linear regression model. A total of 357 publications were analyzed.

Four categories were defined: headaches of all types, migraines, tension headaches and headaches present more than 15 days per month.

Tension headaches are the most common prolonged headache. It’s about a pain continuous, moderate and diffuse in the skull. It does not worsen with effort but is amplified by anxiety or stress. It is accompanied by difficulty concentrating.

The migraine occur in crises. The pain is localized on one side of the head, it is throbbing. Unlike tension headaches, the pain is increased by effort.

One in two people every year

Few studies were available in less and moderately developed countries. In most developed countries, the prevalence of headaches of all types was around 52%, 14% for migraines, 26% for tension headaches and 4.6% for headaches present more 15 days in the month.

Presented differently, this means that, every day, nearly 16% of the world’s population has headache. Since the authors have used the publications of the last 60 years, it would seem that the prevalence of headaches of all types is increasing from year to year, without it being possible to confirm this with certainty.

In addition, over a year, headaches affect more often women (57.8%) than men (44.4%). With regard to age, headaches are more frequent after puberty and up to 60 years old. Children, adolescents and the elderly are less often affected.

Better understanding and accurately characterizing the headaches of populations would make it possible to adapt public health policies. For this, studies are needed in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, the authors point out that standardized questionnaires would make it possible to compare data from different studies.

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