Migraine problems in the United States


Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

During a survey conducted over the internet from May to June 2016, American migraine patients were asked about their most common migraine symptoms. The largest share of the respondents (93 percent) stated that they had head pain. About 89 percent of the respondents suffered from sensitivity to light, while 83 percent experienced sensitivity to sound. Approximately 77 percent had difficulty concentrating and 72 percent suffered from fatigue. Sensitivity to smells and neck pain were also common symptoms, named by 72 percent and 67 percent of migraine sufferers respectively.


Next, let’s examine the results of another survey where patients were asked about their main migraine triggers. Surprisingly, the leading migraine trigger (by a large margin) among U.S. patients in 2016 was weather or barometric pressure changes — 81 percent of respondents said that this triggered their symptoms. Next, 69 percent of respondents stated that certain smells or perfumes triggered their migraines. Bright lights/fluorescent lights/sunshine triggered migraines for 67 percent of people, while sleep issues caused symptoms for 66 percent. Over 60 percent of respondents stated that stress often triggered migraine attacks.


In 2015, nearly 18 percent of all Americans between 18 and 44 years old experienced migraines or severe headache in the last three months. Among the 45 to 64 age group, 15.9 percent experienced migraines in the last quarter. During the same period, 6.4 percent of people aged 65 years and over experienced a severe headache in the last three months.


All in all, the overall percentage of adults with severe headache or migraine problems in the U.S. in 2015 approximated to 15.4 percent.

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About Pavel Prikhodko


Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

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