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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 4--9

Burden, Disability and Public Health Importance of Headache Disorders in India

1 Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Neurology, GB Pant Institute of Post graduate Medical Education and Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anand Krishnan
Professor, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.315984

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Headache disorders, characterized by recurrent headache, are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. The aim of this study was to document epidemiological and economic burden due to headache globally and in India and suggest a public health approach to address headache disorders for India. We reviewed the available literature on burden due to headache, its management using a primary health care approach and health system barriers, with special emphasis on India. Globally, it has been estimated that prevalence of current headache disorder (symptomatic within last year) among adults is about 50%, around 30% report migraine and headache on 15 or more days every month affects 1.7–4% people. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 estimated that migraine caused 45·1 million (95% UI 29·0–62·8) and tension-type headache 7·2 million (95% UI 4·6–10·5) years of life lived with disability. Limited data available in India support such high burden. These studies also indicate high diagnostic and treatment gaps for headache disorders in India. Major challenges in addressing headache disorders effectively in India are low perceived severity, absence of burden data, lack of standard treatment protocols for headache disorders and primary care models for neurological disorders in developing country context. There needs to be a better appreciation of the burden and a public health approach among all stakeholders, if burden of headache disorders is to be addressed effectively in India.


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