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Migraine Takes the Highest Toll on Middle-Aged Women and African Americans

In the United States, middle-aged women and African Americans are those most affected by migraine, according to a study presented at a fall meeting of the American Academy of Pain Management.

In this study, which included responses from 162,756 people, nearly 2% of middle aged women and 1% of men reported migraine.

The rates of chronic migraine were highest for women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, with nearly 2% experiencing the painful disorder. For men, the highest rates were found between ages 40 and 49, at .8%. Among African Americans, 1.7% of women and .7% of men reported chronic migraine. Race, however, no longer played a role after researchers accounted for sociodemographic factors.

Household income strong correlated with migraine rates, with 2.65% of women in households with incomes below $22,500 reporting migraine compared with only .5% of women in households with incomes above $90,000.

This study underlines of the severity migraine and its effects on those who suffer from it, according to coauthor Dawn C. Buse, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York.

“This translates to more than 2 million women in the United States experiencing migraine more days than not, and some of them living with migraine every day,” she said.

She also noted concern about the high rate of migraine among people with low incomes, with pain and disability adding to financial stress. “Sadly, these individuals may not have access to healthcare, may have never been diagnosed, and are the least likely to receive treatment and care that may help,” she said.

This study received funding through a research grant to the National Headache Foundation from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics. Additional analyses and poster preparation were supported by a grant from Allergan to the National Headache Foundation.

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