36 million Americans currently suffer from migraines
Scott & White Healthcare welcomed renowned researcher and current President of the American Headache Society, Elizabeth Loder, MD, during a lecture on the most disabling neurological disorder, migraines. Migraines are severe, recurrent throbbing headaches that impact your nervous system and can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It’s the third most common disorder in the world and currently affects more than 36 million American women, men, and children, or about 12 percent of the population.
“It is a chronic illness that often starts in early adulthood and continues for many decades and it is one of the most common reasons that people see a doctor or visit an emergency department,” said Dr. Elizabeth Loder. “Treatments are available that can treat individual attacks of severe headache or reduce the number of headaches someone has, but sadly many people who would benefit from treatment are not receiving it.”
According to the World Health Organization, migraines rank as the most common disabling disease and is responsible for half of all disabilities associated with neurological conditions such as stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. One in four households has at least one family member that suffers from migraine.
“Typically, people come to migraine through genetics. We see that 4 out of 5 people with migraine have a first degree relative that had it as well,” said Michael Ready, MD, director for the Headache Clinic at Scott & White Memorial Hospital. “What is inherited is a nervous system that is more sensitive to stimulation, and that amplified stimulation overloads the brain to the point that it has to shut down.”
The condition is three times more likely in women and currently effects more than 30 percent over a lifetime. In Central Texas, there are a higher number of cases due, in part, to the high military population in the area.
“Some people don’t get their migraine from genetics, but rather from trauma,” said Dr. Ready. “While six percent of men and 18 percent of women across the U.S. have migraine, we are seeing that 38 percent of male and 58 percent of female soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are having migraine if they suffered a head trauma while deployed. It is one of the signature injuries of the current wars.”
Each year, migraines cost Americans more than 20 billion dollars and threatened or ended the careers of professional athletes, entertainment celebrities, and our brave men and women in uniform. As medical research efforts continue and a new national effort called the 36 million migraine campaign hopes to support the fight against this disabling disease.
About Scott & White Healthcare (sw.org)
Scott & White Healthcare is a non-profit collaborative health care system established in 1897 in Temple, Texas. Among the leading health systems encompassing one of the nation’s largest multi-specialty group practices, Scott & White provides personalized, comprehensive health care enhanced by medical education and research. Scott & White Healthcare includes 12 acute care hospital sites, one emergency hospital site, two additional announced facilities, and over 140 clinics at more than 70 primary care and specialty clinic locations throughout Central Texas providing adult and pediatric care in 46 medical specialties. Integrated, high-quality care is delivered by a dedicated staff of more than 14,000 (including approximately 1,200 physicians and scientists and more than 300 specialized health care providers). Get the latest news from Scott & White Healthcare by visiting our news blog or on Twitter (@swhealthcare).