Can Making Less Money Lead to Migraines?

A study appearing by researchers in Neurology explores whether migraines limit the educational and career achievements of individuals which can lead to a lower income status. The study also explores whether problems related to low income such as stressful life events and poor access to health care increase the likelihood of developing migraines.

The researchers used data from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study, a US national sample containing responses of 162,705 men and  women aged 12 and older who had some migraine symptoms able to be identified, their age, and household income. The authors defined low income as less than $22,500 per year for the household and high income as $60,000 per year or more.

The researchers found the remission rate when migraines stop occurring for a time or for good was the same regardless of income. The researchers point out though that it is possible migraines start due to different reasons than for stopping.

The researchers confirmed that the percentage of people with migraine is higher among those in lower income groups. Looking at women aged 25 to 34 with migraine the researchers found 20% having achieved high income, 37% having achieved middle income, and 37% having achieved low income. For men aged 25 to 34 with migraine the researchers found 5% having achieved high income, 8% with middle income, and 13% with low income

Walter F. Stewart, one of the study authors states

“New evidence from this study shows that a higher percentage of people have migraine in low income groups because more people get migraine, not because people in lower income groups have migraine for a longer period of time.”

The main conclusion from this study is that the duration of time people have migraine is not dependent on their income; however, it seems plausible that making less money plays a role in the development of migraine. The researchers are interested in finding these possible factors that can be playing a role.

In my opinion, having frequent migraines could potentially prevent people from achieving as much success in their career as someone without any headaches.

Reference: Walter F. Stewart, Jason Roy, and Richard B. Lipton, “Migraine prevalence, socioeconomic status, and social causation,” Neurology,  vol. 81, no. 11, pp. 948-955, September 10, 2013.

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