Health by the Numbers: Migraines

Migraine headaches are unlike ordinary headaches. Characterized by a pulsing, throbbing pain and perhaps accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound and light, they're much more common than you'd think. Migraines affect more than 10 percent of people worldwide. It's believed that a variety of factors like stress, anxiety, and hormonal changes can trigger one. Even lack of food or sleep can bring on a migraine in some individuals.

While there is no one specific cause for this debilitating headache, which can last for up to three days at a time, help is available. Besides drugs that can help prevent future migraines as well as relieve the symptoms during a headache, stress management therapies, biofeedback, and even exercise can help.

Here's a look at migraines by the numbers:

  • 12: Percentage of U.S. adults who are affected by migraines.
  • 10: Percentage of school-age children who suffer from migraine.
  • 1 in 4: Number of U.S. households that includes someone with a migraine.
  • 10 to 14: Percentage of American women who get menstrual migraines (which occur up to two days before and up to three days after menstruation)
  • 33: Percentage of migraine sufferers who can predict the onset of a migraine because it is preceded by an "aura," visual disturbances such as flashing lights or even a temporary loss of vision.
  • 18: Approximate percentage of U.S. women who currently suffer from migraine headaches.
  • 70 to 80: Percentage of migraine sufferers who have a family history of migraine.
  • 6: Approximate percentage of U.S. men who currently suffer from migraine headaches.
  • 15 to 55: Age group that migraines affect most, according to the National Headache Foundation.
  • 4 to 72: Amount of time, in hours, that a migraine can last if left untreated.
  • 113 million: Number of days in bed that migraines account for each year.
  • $13 billion: Approximate amount that migraines cost American employers each year in missed work days and impaired work function.




National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
NINDS Migraine Information Page

National Headache Foundation

National Headache Foundation
Menstrual Migraine

American Medical Association (AMA)

Migraine Research Foundation
What is Migraine?

Migraine Research Foundation
Women and Migraine

Migraine Research Foundation
Children and Migraine