42 Enlightening Migraine Statistics & Facts for 2021

Migraine Statistics

The word migraine is used to describe the throbbing and lingering pain that’s often felt on either side of the head. Records about this neurological condition go as far back as 4000 years ago. Notably, it is even mentioned in biblical texts. Now, in this article, you will find the latest migraine statistics, as well as some fascinating facts. Read on to learn how prevalent and severe this condition is.

Top 10 Migraine Statistics for 2021

  • Migraines are most prevalent in people aged 30–40.
  • The prevalence of the condition with female to male ratios is 3:1.
  • Globally, migraines are the sixth-leading cause of years lost due to a disability.
  • 90% of migraineurs are unable to function normally during migraine attacks.
  • Migraineurs are five times as likely to have depression and anxiety.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, the prevalence of migraines has increased by 40% in the UK.
  • Suicide rates among people with chronic migraines are 42.9%.
  • According to migraine statistics, worldwide, around one billion people have the condition.
  • In the US, there are only 700 qualified headache specialists.
  • Nearly one out of every two people affected by migraines are never diagnosed.

Migraine Stats on the Demographics of the Disorder

This section offers you the latest statistics on the demographics of the condition. Learn how prevalent migraine is among men and women, how many children are affected by it, and much more.

1. From 5% to 50% of children ages 3–7 experience headaches of some type, as per migraine statistics.

(The Conversation)

Such early onset of migraine symptoms often indicates that a child is at increased risk of other conditions—those with severe episodes of symptoms of cyclical nature (vertigo, abdominal pain, and torticollis). All in all, more research is to be done for us to understand the complexity of migraines that occur early in life.

2. About 10% of school-aged children suffer from migraines.

(Cedar Health Research)

Children can also have migraines that often go undiagnosed. Besides, those affected tend to miss school about twice as often as those who do not have migraines, facts about the condition affirm. Note that half of the people who have migraines had the attack for the first time before the age of 12.

3. In the US, the 1-year prevalence of migraines is 18% for women and 6% for men.

(MSD Manual)

Additionally, in the US, males before puberty suffer from migraines more frequently than females, according to data. Be that as it may, by adolescence and then into adulthood, the prevalence increases significantly in girls.

4. The prevalence of the condition with female to male ratios is 3:1.

(eMedicine)

Are migraines more common in women than they are in men? An extensive body of evidence suggests that the prevalence is somewhat dependent on sex differences. In general, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, and oral contraceptive use can increase the frequency of migraines in women.

5. Migraines are most prevalent in people aged 30–40.

(Migraine Trust)

As many as 90% of people with migraine symptoms experience their first attack before the age of 40. That said, an astounding 40% of those affected by migraines do not have any more attacks by the age of 65.

6. The occurrence of migraines decreases in people aged 75 and older.

(Web MD)

Namely, the occurrence rate is 74% for men aged 21–34, while it is only 21% for men aged 75 and older. What’s more, the rate peaks at 92% for women aged 21–34, and then it drops to 55% for women aged 75 and older.

Stats and Facts About the Migraine Severity

Migraine is among the most disabling diseases globally. Read on if you want to know more about a migraine attack itself, its impact on one’s ability to function normally, and more.

7. Migraines are one of the 20 most disabling diseases in the world.

(Springer Link)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), migraine is among the most disabling diseases. Astoundingly, the prevalence of the disorder varies from region to region. Studies have confirmed that the migraine prevalence is higher in Europe and North America and lower in Asia.

8. A migraine occurs mostly on one side of the head.

(MSC)

A migraine is acute recurring pain, usually on one side of the head, although some attacks affect both sides equally. Overall, there are four phases of migraines: the premonitory stage, the aura stage, the main attack or headache stage, and the postdrome or recovery stage.

9. A migraine usually lasts between 4 and 72 hours.

(MRF)

Migraine facts reveal that patients usually have between one and four monthly attacks, lasting between 4 and 72 hours. That said, make sure you consult a doctor to determine whether you have chronic migraines if your attacks last much longer.

10. 67.4% of patients reported experiencing “moderately severe” to “extremely severe” migraines.

(BMC)

Chronic migraines and disability often go hand in hand. As many as three-quarters of migraineurs have reduced ability to function during the attacks. What’s more, one-third of them require bed rest. Following that, it comes as no surprise that migraine is among the top-25 causes of years lived with disability (YLDs).

11. Globally, migraines are the sixth biggest contributor to years lost to disability.

(Coventry Chiropractic Clinic)

Following the number of migraine sufferers, statistics prove that the disorder is the third most common type of disease worldwide. Interestingly, the second and the first places are taken by tension-type headaches and dental cavities.

12. 90% of migraineurs are unable to function normally during the attack, migraine statistics suggest.

(Everyday Health)

While the median duration for migraines is about a day, some attacks can last up to 72 hours, taking a toll on one’s quality of life. That is why devising strategies on how to deal with these is of utmost importance.

13. Migraineurs are five times as likely to experience depression and anxiety.

(S3.ap) (American Migraine Foundation)

Namely, 50% of patients with migraines have anxiety and 25% of them have depression. They are also more prone to suicidal behavior, requiring additional health care. Moreover, migraineurs’ reduced social functioning can impact their families and their subsequent mental health.

14. $13 billion is the cost of migraine-related loss of productive time in the US.

(Medscape)

Migraine statistics for the US show that over 85% of women and 82% of men with severe migraines have some headache-related disability. Consequently, women require about 5.6 bed-rest days per year, whereas men need approximately 3.8.

15. As a result of migraine-caused absenteeism, £8.8 billion is lost every year in the UK.

(BMC)

A large body of evidence points out the impact of the disease on work performance. For instance, migraine statistics suggest that about 86 million workdays per year are lost to the disorder in the UK alone.

16. In March 2020, the US witnessed a 21% increase in migraines on the highest recording day.

(Migraine Buddy)

When it comes to the causes of migraines and headaches, facts affirm that the attacks can be triggered by anxiety and stress. Following that, migraines have been on the rise since January 2020. As of March 2020, an astounding 1.98 million attacks have been recorded following the survey of 300,000 people from ten countries.

17. Suicide rates among people with chronic migraines are 42.9%.

(Frontiers in Neurology)

Having examined the link between suicidal behaviors and migraine, suicide statistics uncover some startling data. Namely, it has been found that suicide rates among those with chronic migraines are significantly higher (42.9%) compared to those with episodic migraines (12.5%).

18. A chronic migraine patient experiences headaches for more than 15 days a month.

(Migraine Trust)

What’s more, chronic migraine statistics point out that, in any 3-month period, those with chronic migraines are four times more likely to visit the accident and emergency department compared to those with episodic attacks.

Migraine Prevalence Stats

The section below elaborates on the prevalence of the disorder. Read on to find out how many people experience migraines in the US and worldwide. You will also get to learn which type of migraine is the most common. For that and much more, keep reading.

Places With the Fewest Factors Associated With Migraine Attacks

19. California boasts several cities with the fewest factors associated with migraine attacks.

(Migraine Again)

As mentioned before, studies on the migraine prevalence by country reveal that the US has quite a number of migraineurs. That said, some American cities record fewer factors associated with migraine attacks. California, for instance, boasts several cities like that—Salinas, Los Angeles, and Fresno, to name a few.

20. Around one billion people have migraines, migraine statistics worldwide find.

(American Migraine Foundation)

What’s more, one in every four households in the US has a member with migraines. Globally, it is the third most common disease, affecting one in every seven people. Finally, for more than 90% of migraineurs, the disorder interferes with social activities, career, and education.

21. There are 35 million migraineurs in the US alone.

(The Migraine Institute)

Recent migraine statistics from 2020 by the Migraine Institute also reveal that, in the US, 18% of men and 43% of women will experience the attacks at some point. The higher rate in women is attributable to specific hormonal changes.

22. 1%–2% of the world’s population suffers from chronic migraines.

(NIH) (BCM)

There are two types of migraines—chronic and episodic. The former is associated with experiencing headaches for 15 or more days a month. According to migraine statistics, worldwide, 1%–2% of the population is affected by a chronic migraine disorder. What’s more, around 2.5% of those with episodic migraines can develop a chronic condition.

23. 148 million people worldwide suffer from chronic migraines. 

(American Migraine Foundation) (IHS)

Astoundingly, fewer than 5% of those affected by chronic migraines have visited a health care provider for their disorder, migraine stats reveal. Note that while there is no cure for migraines, there are countless ways in which one could manage the condition.

Migraine Stats on the Causes of the Disorder

Go through the following section and find out everything you need to know about what brings about the attacks. Some of these stats will also introduce you to possible preventive measures.

24. 50% of one survey respondents reported an increase in migraine frequency compared to the pre-pandemic period. 

(BMC)

According to migraine facts, the frequency and severity of attacks are likely to increase due to stress and anxiety. Following that, it comes as no surprise that 59.6% of survey respondents claimed the frequency of their migraines had increased in comparison to the pre-pandemic period.

25. Migraines are something you can get from your parents.

(Williams Integracare Clinic)

Namely, there is a 50% possibility that children with one parent with migraines will experience them too, migraine facts reveal. When both parents are migraineurs, this possibility increases to 75% for the child.

26. In 15%–20% of attacks, neurological symptoms occur before the actual head pain.

(MRF)

Symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, or sensitivity to sound can accompany the attack. You might also become sensitive to light, according to ocular migraine statistics. The symptom is recorded in 15%–20% of patients. It develops within 15–20 minutes and lasts for less than an hour.

27. Weather triggers migraines in 50% of patients.

(Migraine Again) (Sky Met Weather)

Some people experience migraines upon changes in the air and temperature. Namely, headaches can be aggravated by increased temperature, humidity, or the arrival of storms, as well as sudden changes in barometric pressure or altitude. Many migraine sufferers are also sensitive to seasonal changes and the effects of traveling through time zones.

28. Headaches occurred in about 60% of people who got the Moderna vaccine, as per headache statistics

(American Migraine Foundation)

Other typical side effects of these vaccines include tiredness, pain at the site of the injection, chills, fever, muscle and joint pain. As for headaches, they occurred in 60% of those getting the Moderna vaccine, 40% of those receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and 38% of those getting the Pfizer vaccine.

Facts and Statistics on Migraine Treatment

Read on to learn how much people spend on migraine medication, whether they consult doctors, and whether therapeutic interventions help. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

29. In 2019, sales of Advil totaled $449.5 million in the US.

(Statista)

According to headache statistics, the top-3 leading internal analgesic tablet brands in 2019 were Advil, Tylenol, and Aleve. As mentioned above, Advil’s sales totaled $449.5 million. As for Tylenol and Aleve, their sales amounted to $379.3 million and $323.6 million, respectively.

30. People with migraines spend much more on their healthcare compared to those without the disease.

(Migraine)

According to recent healthcare statistics, migraineurs require more medication and visits to the emergency room. Following that, migraine patients incur 70% higher healthcare-related costs than those without the condition.

31. There are only 700 certified headache specialists in the US.

(MRF)

Migraine statistics for the US indicate that the number of certified headache specialists is very limited. Considering that almost 40 million Americans have migraines, it comes as no surprise that many of them often seek treatment from their primary care physician.

32. As many as 70% of migraineurs do not receive proper treatment, migraine statistics show.

(MSC) (Healthline)

Astoundingly, 50% of those affected by the disorder either don’t go or no longer go to the doctor. Following that, it is suggested that many migraineurs resort to self-help and self-medication—using essential oils, soothing pain with a cold compress, etc.

33. 60% of migraine patients improve their quality of life after therapeutic intervention.

(NCBI)

Migraine statistics sure do give some hope. Results of an epidemiological study suggest that more than half of patients with migraines improved their quality of life in comparison to the two years before the intervention. The study also noted a 56% decrease in headache severity and a 36% decrease in post-traumatic headache (PTHA) frequency.

34. More than half of those affected by migraines are never diagnosed.

(Headache Australia)

Despite the episodic and chronic migraine prevalence, the majority of migraineurs do not seek medical help. That said, when they do, half of them go undiagnosed and undertreated. Another startling data suggests that 25% of those affected by the disorder could benefit from preventive treatment. However, only 12% of them receive it.

35. Migraineurs need at least seven hours of regular sleep every day.

(Sleep Foundation)

Your sleep needs depend on your age as well as many other factors. Most people should sleep for at least seven hours, which is the recommended time to feel rested the next day. Migraineurs, in particular, must keep their sleeping schedule as regular as possible.

Fascinating Migraine Facts

The section below will reveal if food or strong perfumes can trigger the attacks. You will also learn whether chronic migraines impact sexual activity. Finally, we will provide you with some valuable advice on how to prevent or treat the condition.

36. Food can trigger migraines.

(Migraine Again)

There are quite a few potentially triggering foods. They include cheese, chocolate, sour cream, nuts, coffee, alcohol, peanut butter, citrus juices and fruits. That said, food triggers are likely to be different for everyone.

37. People can die from migraines if other conditions accompany them.

(Very Well Health)

Do people die from a migraine? In some cases, migraine is accompanied by migrainous infarction, a complication that might lead to a stroke. It has also been found that people who have migraines with aura are at about twice the risk of stroke than the general population. Note, however, that the incidence of migrainous infarction is very low—it accounts for 0.2%–0.5% of all cerebral ischemic causes.

38. Strong aromas or perfumes can trigger a migraine, facts about the condition point out.

(Very Well Health)

A robust aroma and other intense sensory stimuli (very bright lights, loud noises) can trigger migraines. Chemical cleaning products and gasoline are also very likely to induce the attack. Note that these headaches tend to be severe and are also accompanied by nausea.

39. Migraines impact sexual activity.

(Springer Link)

A study of sexual pain among migraineurs reveals some startling migraine statistics. Migraine patients reported a higher frequency of fear of sexual intercourse and a greater degree of pain during intercourse compared to non-migraine patients. What’s more, those affected by the disease also reported lower levels of satisfaction.

40. Botox can treat migraines.

(Web MD)

As the disorder becomes better understood, more treatments are introduced. Interestingly, an innovative therapeutic alternative for chronic migraines is the use of Botox (OnabotulinumtoxinA). It decreases the frequency and lowers the intensity of these headaches. To add, in 2010, Botox was approved for adults with chronic migraines.

41. Exercising can help prevent or reduce migraines.

(Migraine Trust)

Facts about headaches show that regular moderate exercises such as jogging, walking, swimming, biking, or practicing yoga can help prevent migraines and even reduce their frequency. It is suggested that you exercise with moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes three times a week.

42. In 2017, the NIH provided just $0.50 per sufferer in migraine research.

(MRF)

Since 2006, Migraine Research Foundation has awarded 76 grants. It has also invested in 98 investigators in 12 countries in areas such as genetics, childhood migraine, basic science, and studies of new treatments and therapies. That said, despite the high prevalence of migraines, research on the causes and treatments has been underfunded. For instance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded only $0.50 per migraineur in migraine research in 2017.

Wrapping Things Up

Worse than a tension headache found in people with high blood pressure, a migraine is an excruciating headache that can be disabling. It is a frequent health problem that requires a thorough evaluation for accurate diagnosis.

The migraine statistics presented here note how disruptive migraines can be. With that in mind, this article is intended to help you learn more about this debilitating condition, as well as find ways to prevent it and treat it.

FAQs

What causes migraines?

The exact causes of migraine are unknown. However, it is thought that migraines result from abnormal brain activity, which temporarily affects chemicals, nerve signals, and blood vessels in the brain. Also, there are many potential triggers—environmental, dietary, physical, emotional, hormonal, and medicinal factors.

What percent of the population has migraines?

For a long time, migraines have been causing problems to an increasingly high number of people. As mentioned before, more than a billion people have the disorder. In other words, around 12.6% of the global population is living with this condition.

What is the most severe migraine?

An intractable migraine is one of the most severe, yet rare, migraines. It causes attacks for more than 72 hours, leading to unavoidable hospitalization. Moreover, many complications arise due to prolonged nausea and vomiting.

All in all, if your migraines tend to be severe, you might want to turn to medical alert systems for prompt access to emergency services.

Are migraines more prone to strokes?

Migraine and stroke might happen together. However, there is no evidence proving that migraines are the cause of the latter. What can happen during a migraine is migrainous infarction—the medical term for an ischemic stroke (a stroke due to a clot). That said, it is extremely rare.

How many migraines a year are normal?

Migraines’ frequency in people can be different; some rarely have attacks, while others spend their lives suffering from them. Generally, having about four headaches per month, translating to up to 50 headaches annually, is considered the most common case with people, as per some migraine statistics.

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