Background: Morbidity associated with primary headache disorders is a major public health problem with an overall prevalence of 46%. Tension-type headache and migraine are the two most prevalent causes. However, headache has not been sufficiently studied as a cause of morbidity in the developing world. Literature on prevalence and classification of these disorders in South Asia is scarce. The aim of this study is to describe the classification and clinical features of headache patients who seek medical advice in Pakistan.
Methods and Results: Medical records of 255 consecutive patients who presented to a headache clinic at a tertiary care hospital were reviewed. Demographic details, onset and lifetime duration of illness, pattern of headache, associated features and family history were recorded. International Classification of Headache Disorders version 2 was applied. 66% of all patients were women and 81% of them were between 16 and 49 years of age. Migraine was the most common disorder (206 patients) followed by tension-type headache (58 patients), medication-overuse headache (6 patients) and cluster headache (4 patients). Chronic daily headache was seen in 99 patients. Patients with tension-type headache suffered from more frequent episodes of headache than patients with migraine (p,0.001). Duration of each headache episode was higher in women with menstrually related migraine (p = 0.015). Median age at presentation and at onset was lower in patients with migraine who reported a first-degree family history of the disease (p = 0.003 and p,0.001 respectively).
Conclusions/Significance: Patients who seek medical advice for headache in Pakistan are usually in their most productive ages. Migraine and tension-type headache are the most common clinical presentations of headache. Onset of migraine is earlier in patients with first-degree family history. Menstrually related migraine affects women with headache episodes of longer duration than other patients and it warrants special therapeutic consideration. Follow-up studies to describe epidemiology and burden of headache in Pakistan are needed.
(2009). Classification and clinical features of headache disorders in Pakistan: a retrospective review of clinical data. PloS one, 4(6), e5827-e5827.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_med_med/483