What is Cephalalgia?

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Headaches or cephalalgia is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system. Approximately half of all adults have had a headache during the past year, and it is the sixth cause of disability in the world. Although the majority are not serious, one should go to the doctor when its onset is sudden and intense, it is accompanied by neurological symptoms such as loss of strength or alteration of language or fever.

Headaches explained in first person

Professionals and patients explain how you live with the disease
Headache is the sixth most disabling group of diseases as regards day of healthy life lost due to an illness.
I don’t hide that I have chronic migraine and that I suffer from it. I believe that one must try to take the stigma out of migraine and that it is seen as an illness.

Cephalalgia is a symptom that refers to any type of pain located in the head. There are more than 150 types, but, broadly speaking, they can be divided into two large categories: primary and secondary headaches. The primary ones represent 90% of the total, and are those in which the headache has common criteria and characteristics. The secondary ones are a consequence of another illness that involves cephalalgia and, generally, other symptoms.

Is Cephalalgia very common?

It is estimated that cephalalgia affects approximately 50% of the adult population in the world. In the last year between 25% and 50% of adults from 18 to 65 years have had a headache in the last year, and 30% have had a migraine. A headache that is present for 15 days or more each month affects between 1.7% and 4% of the adult population in the world. Despite regional variations, cephalalgia is a problem that affects individuals of all ages, races, income levels, and geographical areas.

According to a study by the World Health Organisation (Global Burden of Disease Study 2015), cephalalgia is the sixth cause of disability in the world. Migraine is the seventh and third, in people less than 50 years-old, respectively, which is situated behind stroke, but before other neurological diseases such as dementia, meningitis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, or multiple sclerosis.

Its elevated prevalence and disability involves an increased financial cost for drugs and the healthcare of the patient, as well as that arising from absenteeism and reduction in work performance.

Substantiated information by:

Neus Fabregat i Fabra
Víctor Obach Baurier

Published: 16 May 2018
Updated: 16 May 2018

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