How Prevalent are Migraines? How are they Treated?

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How prevalent are migraine headaches?

According to the National Headache Foundation, an estimated 28 million Americans have migraine headaches. The World Health Organization considers migraines to be one of the most debilitating diseases in the world. In addition, an estimated 14 million Americans have undiagnosed migraine headaches (Lawrence, 2004).

Migraines are the second most prevalent headache syndrome in the United States. Statistics show that 157 million workdays each year are lost due to the severity of migraine headaches (Fackelmann, 2005).

Migraines are more prevalent in women, affecting women three times more than men. Estrogen levels are a key trigger for increased migraines in women, but how the changes trigger migraines is unknown. Women often report that their migraine occurs during or right before the onset of their menstrual cycle. In addition, some women experience migraines during pregnancy or menopause. Contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies have also been shown to cause more severe migraines (Mayo Clinic, 2005).

How are migraine headaches treated?

As of today, there is no cure for migraines. Often, individuals with migraines look at treating or preventing the migraine. Preventive medications are used to reduce the number of attacks for individuals that have two or more migraines a month. Examples of some of the prescribed medications are Beta-blockers, Anti-depressants, and Divalproex Sodium. Many individuals who take preventive medications also take medication to treat the severity of the migraine (Lawrence, 2004).

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