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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 739-740
Targeting the underestimated and underdiagnosed global problem of headache disorders


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Targeting the underestimated and underdiagnosed global problem of headache disorders. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:739-40

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Targeting the underestimated and underdiagnosed global problem of headache disorders. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Aug 25];10:739-40. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/739/188497


Dear Editor,

Headache disorders are one of the most common disorders of the nervous system, and are characterized by episodes of recurrent headache, and often associated with disability, impaired quality of life, and augmented monetary expenses.[1] Regardless of the geographic variability, headache disorders remain a global concern, affecting people irrespective of their age-group, sex, race, or financial status.[1],[2] The global estimates suggest that 50% of the adults have been exposed to a single episode of headache every year.[1] In addition, almost 4% of the adult population have reported an episode of headache every fortnightly.[1]

Further, headache has not only been identified as the feature of primary headache disorders, but even occurs subsequent to a wide range of conditions, including drug overuse.[3] However, the presence of a constant fear to experience the next episode tends to damage both family and social life.[3] Also, owing to the presence of headache disorders in the productive years, there is an extensive production-cum-economic loss due to the sickness absenteeism and impact on the nation's growth.[1],[3] In addition, in an attempt to cope with chronic headache disorders, people often become more predisposed to anxiety and depression than the healthy individuals.[2],[4]

Nevertheless, the major public health concern is that most of the affected persons fail to receive the desired form of care.[1] This is predominantly because of the lack of knowledge among health professionals (only 4 hours of undergraduate medical education are assigned for headache disorders), and hence a major proportion of them are either not diagnosed or remain untreated.[1],[3] A similar sort of poor awareness has even been reported among the general population, and often not given attention, as it is mostly episodic, not infectious, and does not result in a fatal outcome.[2] In-fact, a very small proportion of them actually avail treatment for the same, whereas the rest of them are practicing self-medication.[2] Further, most of the national policy makers, in an attempt to save resources or minimize the financial burden on the public health care delivery system, never recognizes the overall impact (direct and indirect sequels) of headache on the society.[1],[4]

Acknowledging the fact that headache disorder results in disability throughout the world, and the failure of the health system to reach those who need it, the World Health Organization has developed linkages with a non-governmental organization to improve awareness about them and its implications on health and economy, and to formulate and implement appropriate interventions to address the global concerns.[1] In addition, there is an indispensable need to train health professionals to reach to precise diagnosis, offer specific drug therapy, counsel regarding lifestyle modifications, and educate the patients about the self-care.[1],[2],[3],[4]

To conclude, headache disorders remain an underestimated, poorly diagnosed, and undertreated public health problem across the globe. However, a major burden of the problem can be addressed merely by creating awareness among the health professionals and the general public, and, thus, there is a need to involve all stakeholders and have a more comprehensive approach.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

S.R.S. contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

P.S.S. contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

J.R. contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Headache disorders: Fact sheet; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs277/en/. [Accessed April 14 2016]  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Manandhar K, Risal A, Linde M, Steiner TJ. The burden of headache disorders in Nepal: estimates from a population-based survey. J Headache Pain 2015;17:3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Kabbouche M, Khoury CK. Management of primary headache in the emergency department and inpatient headache unit. Semin Pediatr Neurol 2016;23:40-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Lebedeva ER, Kobzeva NR, Gilev DV, Olesen J. Factors associated with primary headache according to diagnosis, sex, and social group. Headache 2016;56:341-56.  Back to cited text no. 4
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvanchery Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.188497

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