CHICAGO, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly one out of three migraine and/or
severe headache sufferers would rather have a root canal than a migraine,
according to the results of a recent nationwide survey being released today by
the National Headache Foundation (NHF). Additionally, 32 percent of
self-reported migraineurs have not been diagnosed by a physician, and a
majority admit having attributed their migraines to stress or tension
headaches and/or sinus pressure. These data illustrate the debilitating
nature of migraines and highlight the issue of under-diagnosis and
misdiagnosis of migraines in the U.S. According to the NHF, an estimated
12 million migraine sufferers are still undiagnosed.
"Proper diagnosis and treatment of migraines is crucial to improving the
quality of life for migraineurs," says Merle Diamond, M.D., associate director
of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago and NHF spokesperson. "Therefore,
the NHF is launching an awareness initiative to encourage sufferers to learn
more about migraine by visiting www.headtalk.com. This website can also help
foster a more productive dialogue between sufferers and their healthcare
provider so that they can receive proper treatment for their headaches."
According to the survey, self-reported severe headache sufferers (n=105)
are not fully aware of the different symptoms that could indicate that a
severe headache may actually be a migraine. The symptoms most identified with
a migraine were sensitivity to light and sound (79 percent),
pulsing/throbbing/pounding on one side of the head (71 percent), visual
disturbances or light flashes (69 percent), and nausea (64 percent). However,
fewer than half identified neck pain (48 percent), watery eyes (20 percent)
and runny nose (eight percent) as possible symptoms of a migraine.
Untreated or mistreated migraines can significantly reduce the quality of
life for migraine sufferers and have a major impact on their daily activities.
The survey showed that more than half of self-reported migraineurs said their
social activities (60 percent), productivity/work attendance (59 percent) and
time with family (56 percent) were most affected by the onset of their
Nearly two-thirds of self-reported migraineurs said that they have relied
on rest and meditation to alleviate symptoms and 66 percent said that they
have used over-the-counter medications to treat their migraines.
"Over-the-counter headache medications are not always the most appropriate
form of treatment. There are a number of prescription medications designed to
specifically target migraines, and these may be effective for the patient,"
says Dr. Diamond. "It is likely that many migraineurs suffer needlessly due to
lack of knowledge and improper self-diagnosis."
About the Survey
The omnibus survey, conducted by Harris Interactive via telephone during
November 28-30, 2003, interviewed more than 1,000 American adults comprising
of 509 men and 511 women. The survey was funded by GlaxoSmithKline.
Migraine is a neurobiological disorder that affects 28 million Americans
and can be disabling, as evidenced by missed days of work, lost time with
family and friends, and a disrupted daily routine. Migraine is characterized
by recurrent bad headaches lasting 4 to 72 hours (untreated) and with symptoms
including moderate to severe headache pain, throbbing head pain, head pain
located on one side of the head, head pain aggravated by routine activity,
nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Menstrually associated
migraine is clinically defined as migraine headaches that occur anywhere from
two days prior to menstrual flow through the third or fourth day of the
woman's period. In 10-14 percent of women who suffer from menstrually
associated migraine, the migraine occurs around the time of their period and
no other time.
About The National Headache Foundation
The National Headache Foundation, founded in 1970, is a nonprofit
organization dedicated to serving headache sufferers, their families and the
healthcare providers who treat them; promoting research into headache causes
and treatments; and educating the public to the fact that headaches are a
legitimate biological disease and sufferers should receive understanding and
continuity of care. For more information on headache causes and treatment
options visit the National Headache Foundation Web site at www.headaches.org
or call toll-free 1-888-NHF-5552.
SOURCE National Headache Foundation