Though migraine disease is extremely common, it continues to be the least funded research area among the most burdensome diseases, by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A lack of funding leaves several unanswered questions about the cause of the disease, the prevalence, effective treatment options and what we all strive for, a cure.
Due to the lack of migraine disease research funding through government agencies, Miles for Migraine had made it part of our mission to fund headache fellowship programs across the country. The funds that our advocates help us raise are used to support research projects by doctors just starting in the field of headache medicine, also known as fellows.
What are Headache Disorders?
Headache disorders or headache disease is a broad category that covers several different diagnoses. Primary headache disorders are those that are not caused by another disease.
They are the most common reasons, for which patients seek neurologic advice, and every year affect nearly 3 billion people1. There are four main groups of primary headache disorders:
- Tension-type headache (TTH)
- Trigeminal autonomic cephalgias including cluster headache
- Miscellaneous primary headache
Some of the statistics shared below are a collaborative effort of the headache, migraine and cluster patient advocacy community, led by CHAMP. Our purpose with this project is to streamline data about headache diseases, so that the information presented about these debilitating diseases is cohesive across organizations, media, policy makers and the public.
The full Headache Diseases Statistics Guide is available here for your review.
Due to the reality that migraine research is extremely underfunded, there is limited data for review. Based on the currently available research, the decision was to use selected research for this guide, that is relatively current and included a significant sample size.
- 18.7% of Americans aged 18-44 have experienced migraine or severe headache over the past three months
- 15.7% of Americans aged 45-64 have experienced migraine or severe headache over the past three months.
- 9.3% of Americans aged 65-74 have experienced migraine or severe headache over the past three months.
- 6.1% of Americans aged 75+ have experienced migraine or severe headache over the past three month.
Research has shown that migraine is most common among young adults between 30-49 years of age. As people age, migraine generally becomes less common, meaning the prevalence decreases. For example, for many women, migraine is related to hormones; when they go through menopause, their migraine may improve or goes away. This would be one reason prevalence decreases with age.
0%of women have experienced migraine or severe headache. That is 1 in 5 U.S. adult women.
0%of men have experienced migraine or severe headache. That is 1 in 10 U.S. adult men.
By Race and Ethnicity
- 16.7% of White people have experienced migraine or severe headache
- 15.6% of Black people have experienced migraine or severe headache.
- 9.1% of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders have experienced migraine or severe headache.
- 22.1% of Native American/Alaskan Native people have experienced migraine or severe headache.
- 16% of Hispanics have experienced migraine or severe headache.
Migraine Treatment and Support
While we have not yet found the cure for migraine and headache disease, the growth of our advocacy community is critical to continued forward momentum. The mission of Miles for Migraine is to end the headache specialist shortage for all. Through our Run, Walk or Relax Events people can help our community raise awareness about these disabling diseases and fundraise to support the training and research being led by the next generation of headache specialists, headache fellows.
Miles for Migraine is dedicated to building up the community of advocates and reducing the stigma of headache diseases by providing Educational Events, programming for families and teens impacted by headache disease, virtual Support Groups, Social Events, Mindfulness sessions and Advocacy Training.
- Collaborators GBDH. Global, regional, and national burden of migraine and tension-type headache, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet Neurol 2018;17:954-976.
- Burch R, Rizzoli P, Loder E. 2021. "The prevalence and impact of migraine and severe headache in the United States: Updated age, sex, and socioeconomic-specific estimates from government health surveys" Headache. DOI: 10.1111/head.14024
- This is an average based on the number of households in the U.S. and the number of people living with migraine or severe headache. Its purpose is to illustrate the number of people affected by these disorders. In reality, a headache disorder is hereditary and there is often more than one member of the household living with the disease
- Lipton et al. 2022 OVERCOME study
- Koo BB, Bayoumi A, Albanna A, et al. Demoralization predicts suicidality in patients with cluster headache. J Headache Pain. 2021;22(1):28. doi:10.1186/s10194-021-01241-7
- Pei JH, Wang XL, Yu Y, et al. 2020. "Prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt in patients with migraine: A systematic review and metaanalysis." Journal of Affective disorders. 277:253- 259. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2020.08.019