What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Migraine Facts

It's sometimes hard to believe that a headache can be debilitating, but migraine sufferers know precisely how much of a disabling ailment the condition can be. It can prevent the sufferer from performing even the most basic tasks. It's also sometimes very difficult to plan life around a migraine since they tend to come on without warning something with no apparent trigger.

A Common Condition

In the United States alone migraines affect 36 million men, women and children, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. If those statistics were broken down further they would look like this:

· More than 10 percent of the American population suffers from migraines.

· Migraines are most common between the ages of 25 and 55, also known as the peak productive years.

· Almost one in four American households have someone with a migraine problem living with them.

· Women suffer from migraines more often than men. About 18 percent of women get migraine attacks and six percent of men suffer from the pain of migraines.

· Migraines tend to run in families. If one parent suffers from attacks, there's a 40 percent chance the children in the family will too. If both parents suffer from migraines, the likelihood of the children getting migraines too jumps to 90 percent.

It's a Serious Condition

Migraines are so much more than a little head tension. These types of severe headaches can significantly impact someone's ability to enjoy life.

· Fourteen million people in the United States experience daily migraine attacks. This is about four percent of the American population.

· The Migraine Research Foundation reports that someone needs to go the emergency room every 10 seconds in the United States because of headache or migraine problems. It's one of the world's top 20 most disabling medical illnesses.

· At least 90 percent of those who experience migraine attacks aren't able to function normally either in their work lives or their personal lives because of the condition.

· A migraine attack can last from four to 72 hours. Fifty percent of sufferers experience their first attack before the age of 12.

Even though migraines can be so disabling, only about four percent of sufferers seek help from specialists. The reason for this could be because of perceptions of headaches and that those with migraines should drink a glass of water, take an over-the-counter pain killer and get on with their lives.

An Expensive Condition

Migraines are expensive for the sufferers and their families as well as their employers. American businesses lose approximately $13 billion every year from missed work days due to migraines. Medical services, including more visits to the emergency room, as well as expensive prescriptions or alternative therapies, make the condition an expensive one for sufferers.