Study: One in six suffers headaches daily, women more often than men

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More women than men experience headaches 15 days or more a month.

According to a study, more than half of the world’s population has recurring headaches. Women are more likely to be affected by migraines than men.

Many people suffer from headaches, hammers, stings, drones, and squeeze. Researchers have now found that one in six people has a headache every day. About half of them have migraines.

Scientists analyzed 357 studies published between 1961 and the end of 2020. By analyzing the studies, the researchers were able to examine how high the prevalence of headaches is worldwide. In this way, the researchers investigated how prevalent headaches are worldwide. The findings were published in the Journal of Headache and Pain. “Headaches are a common condition and are widespread in all countries – although there can be differences,” Prof. Lars Jacob Stovner, lead author of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology study, told the U.K.’s Guardian.

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Many causes can trigger headaches. High blood pressure, heart, thyroid, metabolic, and kidney diseases can cause pain. Bad teeth or ulcerated sinuses are also possible. In about ten percent of cases, headaches have such a physical cause, according to the Professional Association of German Internists (BDI). Half of all headache patients suffer accordingly from tension headaches. Stress, mental strain, or even a sudden change in the weather can lead to tension in those affected, triggering headaches. Study author Lars Jacob Stovner also names genetics, sleep problems, and excessive medication use as causal factors.

Migraines affect women more often than men

Many of the studies that the researchers led by Lars Jacob Stovner have examined do not address the type of headache. The analysis shows that more than half of the world’s population has recurrent headaches, and about 16 percent of people around the globe even have headaches every day. From the studies analyzed that indicated headache types, 17 percent of women suffer from migraines each year, but only nine percent of men. Headaches 15 or more days a month were also more common in women. There are also age differences: “Many other pains in the body increase as we approach retirement. But migraines and headaches are most prevalent in the most active years,” Stovner said.

The study results are consistent with previous estimates of headache prevalence, according to Stovner. But the analysis may indicate an increase in migraines since the team’s last examination in 2007. But this discrepancy could also be due to the different study designs of the studies analyzed.

Treatment of headaches

Migraines are terrible for sufferers, migraine expert Peter Goadsby, professor of neurology at King’s College London, told The Guardian. He said that there needs to be better recognition and treatment of headaches in Europe.

How headaches can be treated and what helps against them depends on the type of headache. For tension headaches, which tend to feel dull and pressing, home remedies such as fresh air, drinking water, or applying peppermint oil to the forehead, temples, or neck can already help. Migraines, on the other hand, are characterized by seizure-like headaches. They are intensified by movement, and additional symptoms such as sensitivity to light, nausea, or loss of appetite occur. In the case of an acute attack, painkillers can have a soothing effect; which active ingredient is taken in which dosage should be discussed with a doctor. Daily occurring headaches should be clarified likewise with Experts.

Sources: Journal of Headache and Pain, Guardian/picture: Bild von Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke auf Pixabay

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