Survey Highlights Migraine’s Impact on QOL

Survey results illustrate the detrimental effects of migraine on daily life.

A recent survey conducted by the National Headache Foundation collected responses on a range of treatment and quality of life (QOL) challenges faced by those with migraine—the second most debilitating disease in the world.

The survey was conducted online with nearly 1200 respondents aged 18 to 70. All were diagnosed with migraine at least 2 years ago and reported symptoms including exhaustion and anxiety. Participants had been prescribed or were currently taking a preventive migraine treatment at the time of the survey.

After quantifying results, researchers found a number of commonalities among respondents, with high percentages indicating specific challenges in participants’ daily lives.

A total of 84% of responders wished there were better treatment options than those they were currently taking. Nevertheless, nearly as many responders (82%) reported feeling optimism and hope when starting a new therapy.

Nearly half of women in the survey relayed that menstruation, menopause, or childbirth resulted in hormonal changes that worsened their migraine symptoms.

Additionally, responses from Black and Hispanic participants showed these populations had more doubts and fears about initiating a preventive treatment compared with the rest of the sample. However, over 70% of both groups indicated they wished they had begun treatment sooner.

Results also showed nearly two-thirds of migraineurs reported feeling that life was “passing them by.” General frustration with treatment adjustments, in addition to feelings that attaining optimal control and stability over the disease was out of reach, were also present.

Migraine also resulted in negative impacts on participant productivity, energy levels, mental clarity, personal relationships, and professional growth, constituting significant barriers to individuals’ wellbeing.

“So many people with migraine live in fear every day because they don't know when an attack will hit,” said Jill Dehlin, RN, a migraineur and chair of the National Headache Foundation's Patient Leadership Council.

“In this survey, many people reported feeling they are chasing an unreachable goal to get their migraine disease under control, highlighting the need for new preventive treatment options, as well as resources to educate and empower them to take control of their disease,” she said.