Classical Migraines: Epidemiology

Classical migraine headaches have a 3:1 female to male preponderance. The peak age of onset is in the second and third decades of life. Onset of migraine headaches after the age of 30 should prompt the search for an underlying neurological disease.

Classical migraines are a condition with a strong female preponderance. The prevalence of migraine headaches in any given year is 6% for men and 18% for women in the United States. The peak age for the onset of migraine headaches is in the second and third decades of life with a spike for women at menarche. Onset of migraine headaches after the age of 30 is distinctly uncommon and should prompt a search for an underlying neurological condition. The female preponderance as well as the absolute prevalence of the disease begins to wane with age, especially after menopause in women, such that by age 70 the yearly prevalence of migraines is nearly equal between men and women at about 5%. In addition to running in families, the incidence of migraine headaches strongly associated with a family history of epilepsy, with a relative risk of 2:1.

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