What we currently know about migraine

Who gets migraine? How does it affect them?

Understanding migraine

While references to migraine go back as far as 400 BC, when Hippocrates wrote about migraine attacks, it’s only recently that we have started to understand migraine.

It used to be thought that migraine was a disease of the blood vessels, but it is now understood that migraine is a brain disease.

It is still not known why people get migraine, but it is believed that it is related to genes. That’s why it often runs in families.

Here’s what is known about who gets migraine and the impact it has on them.

How common is migraine?

Around one in seven people get migraine. Over a billion people worldwide get migraine, and over 10 million in the UK.

Migraine is the third most common disease in the world (behind dental caries and tension-type headache).

How often do people with migraine get it?

It’s estimated that 190,000 migraine attacks occur every day in the UK.

Over three quarters of people who get migraine have at least one attack each month.

Chronic migraine, which is when a person gets a headache on 15 or more days a month, eight of which are migraine, is less common. It affects around two in 100 people.

Who gets migraine?

People can get migraine at any age. It often starts at puberty and it usually peaks between the ages of 35 and 45 years.

It is initially more common in boys than girls but this reverses at puberty with migraine affecting three-times as many women as men.