Migraine without aura is the most common type of migraine, accounting for 85–90 percent of all migraines. Only 10–15 percent of individuals with migraine have migraine with aura. There are some migraine syndromes of childhood that may infrequently be experienced by adults. Related headache disorders include tension headache, medication overuse headache, cluster headache, post-traumatic headache, episodic paroxysmal hemicranium, and others.
Who gets migraine?
Migraine does not appear to target one group of people or another. However, migraine does appear to be inherited:
Most individuals with migraine can identify a close relative with the condition. Migraine is thought to follow a dominant inheritance pattern (that is, people who inherit the gene for migraine get the condition). Studies show that more women than men report experiencing migraine.
Why do more women than men have migraine?
The fact that more women than men experience migraine does not mean that more women have the condition. Studies of children before puberty show that boys are just as likely to have migraine as girls. Perhaps women have more attacks after puberty than men because of the effect of estrogen (the female sex hormone). Population studies use very strict criteria for migraine, and it is likely that many cases of migraine in men and children are missed. Studies of adults with headache have found that the prevalence of moderate to severe headaches not considered as migraine is nearly equal in both genders.
How common is migraine?
In any year, nearly 30 million Americans (12 percent of the population) experience migraine. Studies vary little from country to country, with most showing the same prevalence of migraine as in the us. In the American studies, 18 percent of women and 8 percent of men surveyed said they had experienced a migraine attack in the previous 3 months.
Can migraine attacks be triggered?
A migraine trigger influences the brain in such a way that it sets off a migraine attack. Just as an asthma attack can be triggered by a cat for someone allergic to cat dander, a migraine attack can be triggered by, for example, a missed meal or a late night. The difference is that a migraine trigger is not caused by an allergy. There are many migraine triggers, both from the external environment and from within the body. Common triggers are stress, lack of sleep, missed meals, menstruation, and foods such as chocolate or cheese. Being aware of your triggers helps you avoid them and control the frequency of migraine attacks.
When are people more likely to experience migraine attacks?
Both men and women experience more frequent migraine attacks between the ages of 35 and 45 years. The attacks typically start at a younger age. Boys frequently start having migraine attacks before puberty and get better during and after adolescence. Girls usually start experiencing migraine or have more frequent attacks with the onset of puberty.
Can migraine attacks become more frequent at any age?
Yes, men, women, and children can develop more frequent attacks at any age. Migraine is more likely to progress if attacks are not treated. Overuse of medications such as analgesics can lead to chronic daily headache.