Migraine Sufferers Hoping June Helps

Migraine Sufferers Hoping June Helps

By Jeannette Rotondi

Jeannette Rotondi

Jeannette Rotondi

June 1st kicks off Migraine Awareness Month, during which the Migraine community, advocacy groups and like-minded organizations, strive to raise public and professional awareness of the epidemiology of migraine and its impact on individual sufferers, their caregivers, family and on society as a whole.

Migraine is a serious, debilitating neurological disease, that affects 38 million men, women and children, in the United States.1

Migraine is the third most prevalent disease in the country. It is more common than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined.2 Migraine is most common in women, with about 28 million women affected in the United States. Half of all migraine sufferers have their first attack before the age of 12 and has been reported in children as young as 18 months old.3

Migraine is a disease that is highly disabling. In the Global Burden of Disease Study, updated in 2013, migraine was found to be the 6th highest cause, worldwide, of years lost due to disability. Headache disorders collectively were third highest.4  Severe migraine attacks are classified by the World Health Organization as among the most disabling illnesses, comparable to dementia, quadriplegia and active psychosis.5 Ninety percent of Migraineurs report missing work due to an attack, leading to 112 million days of lost work annually.6 Chronic migraines is even more disabling. More than 4 million people experience chronic migraine.7 Chronic migraine indicates the presence of at least 15 attacks each month for at least 6 months.8 Furthermore, chronic migraine sufferers experience worse stigma than episodic migraine sufferers and more than those with other neurological diseases including stroke, epilepsy, and MS.9

Migraine is not just a bad headache; it is an extremely incapacitating collection of neurological symptoms.

Typical symptoms of migraine include a throbbing headache with severe pain which may be accompanied by nausea, extreme sensitivity to light and sound and tingling or numbness in the extremities and face. These symptoms may intensify with movement.10 Those with migraine are also more likely to have depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, other pain conditions and fatigue.11

Migraine is a public health issue with both social and economic consequences. Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraine are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the United States. Healthcare costs are 70% higher for a family with a migraine sufferer, than a non-migraine affected family.12

There is no cure for migraine. Treatments are aimed at reducing frequency of migraine attacks and stopping them when they occur.13 For those who seek treatment for migraine, finding the right doctor can be difficult. Just 4 hours are committed to headache disorders in undergraduate medical training worldwide.14 In 2015, there were about 500 certified headache specialists in the United States and 38 million sufferers. In spite of the prevalence of migraine and its serious effects, research into the causes and treatment of migraine is severely underfunded. Migraine remains a poorly understood disease that is under treated15 this disease. In order to improve the quality of life of Migrainers and relieve the burden of Migraine it is imperative to improve recognition of migraine and change public perception toward the realization that migraine and the 38 million citizens suffering with this disease matter.

Jeannette resides in Jackson, NJ with her husband (Dennis), son (DJ) and Golden Retriever (Kodi) who has lived with chronic pain for the past 9 years, arising from several chronic conditions, including early onset arthritis, disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, neuropathy, colonic inertia, myofascial pain, POTS, TMJ, and chronic migraine.

She is a licensed social worker, currently not practicing due to chronic pain. She volunteers as an ambassador with US Pain Foundation and in 2015 volunteering with the non-profit, Chronic Migraine Awareness.

  1. Migraine Research Foundation, About Migraine, 2016.
  2. Steiner TJ etal. Migraine: the seventh disabler. The Journal of Headache and Pain. Jan 2013; 14:1.
  3. Migraine Research Foundation, About Migraine, 2016.
  4. World Health Organization, Headache Disorders, April 2016.
  5. World Health Organization, Disease incidence, prevalence and disability. 2004.
  6. Friedman D. Top 10 Things that you and your patients with migraine should know. American Headache Society. 2016.
  7. Migraine Research Foundation. About Migraine. 2016.
  8. American Migraine Foundation. Living With Migraine. April 2016.
  9. American Headache Society. Stigma of migraine is significant; worse for those with chronic migraine. June 2010.
  10. Friedman D. Top 10 Things that you and your patients with migraine should know. American Headache Society. 2016.
  11. American Migraine Foundation. Living With Migraine. April 2016.
  12. Migraine Research Foundation. About Migraine. 2016.
  13. American Migraine Foundation. Living With Migraine. April 2016.
  14. World Health Organization. Atlas of headache disorders and resources in the world. 2011.
  15. Migraine Research Foundation. About Migraine. 2016.

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Authored by: Jeannette Rotondi

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Harry at 2:26 am

    Migraine is not just a bad headache; it is an extremely incapacitating collection of neurological symptoms. A very true sentence but here are another study carried out over the period of 20 years, is claiming that it can also cause cardiovascular diseases in women: http://goo.gl/h9pTYh