Chronic migraines take heavy toll

New research suggests that there's a difference between people who have migraines a lot and those who have them less often: The most frequent sufferers are in worse health overall, poorer and more depressed.

The finding comes from a study of nearly 12 000 people with headaches that were labeled either episodic, if they occurred no more than 14 days a month, or chronic, if they occurred 15 or more days a month.

Those with chronic migraines made a lot less money, were less likely to work full-time and were nearly twice as likely to have a job-related disability as the other headache patients.

The chronic sufferers were also twice as likely to experience other problems, such as depression, anxiety and chronic pain. They were 70% more likely to have had a stroke, and the researchers linked these chronic migraine patients to higher rates of such diseases as asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The findings, the researchers say, could be used to figure out how people with episodic migraines develop chronic forms of the condition. The study findings were published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. - (HealthDay News, February 2010)

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