WHO report - documents the worldwide failure to adequately diagnose, treat and manage headache.

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WHO report - documents the worldwide failure to adequately diagnose, treat and manage headache.  Empty WHO report - documents the worldwide failure to adequately diagnose, treat and manage headache.

Post by Tee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:11 am

Individuals who experience migraine headaches lose 1.3% of their lives to disability, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first global atlas on headaches. “Lifting the Burden: Atlas of Headache Disorders and Resources in the World 2011” is full of such details on the prevalence and impact of headache around the world, painstakingly chronicling its personal and societal effects. Yet, the report is also as detailed when it comes to documenting the worldwide failure to adequately diagnose, treat and manage headache.

The WHO report is primarily based on survey responses received from neurologists, primary care physicians and patients from 101 countries between October 2006 and March 2009, epidemiologic data from published reports and population-based studies. Its exhaustive nature lends support to the authors’ ultimate assessment that headache sufferers have been let down by the health care industry and their own governments.

“The first global inquiry into these matters illuminates the worldwide neglect of a major public health problem,” wrote the authors of the report, “and reveals the inadequacies of responses to it in countries throughout the world.”

Underappreciated Societal Burden

Migraine and other headache disorders have a significant impact on physical and emotional health, as well as health insurance costs and productivity. To wit, the WHO report states that 50% to 70% of adults in the world report at least one headache per year. The chronic nature of headache is elucidated by the fact that it affects up to 4% of all adults on 15 or more days of each month. In the European Union alone, 190 million workdays are lost annually due to migraine.

It is seemingly hard to conceive then, the report’s assertion that headache disorders receive relatively little attention from the health care community. The WHO report maintains that a minority of individuals worldwide who experience headache are diagnosed, let alone treated to appropriate therapeutic levels. Amazingly, only 18% of countries responding in the WHO report even have data on the societal impact of headache in their country. Only 12% of those countries have a reporting system for headache and expenditures surveys are conducted in only 7%.

“Headache disorders are ubiquitous, prevalent, disabling and largely treatable, but under-recognized, under-diagnosed and under-treated,” the report stated. “Illness that could be relieved is not, and burdens, both individual and societal, persist.”

http://www.painmedicinenews.com/ViewArticle.aspx?d=Clinical+Pain+Medicine&d_id=82&i=October+2011&i_id=770&a_id=19213

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