Military Finding Rise in Migraines

The military has studied all branches to see how migraine headaches are affecting individuals across the board.  What they found is that there has been a 27% increase in migraines between 2001 and 2007, leading to more time off work and other related issues.

There are many reasons that headaches in general are of concern to the military.  Some of the main reasons are that they often come on with no warning and can end up being debilitating to the person who is suffering from them.  In addition to striking without warning, they can affect operations and they can become quite costly as a result. 

From 2002 to 2007, the incidence of migraines in males in the military increased over 60%, which is an enormous jump.  Because this has been a time period of active battle in Iraq and other areas, the increase is thought to be related to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression an/or traumatic brain injury. 

It is thought that the amount of individuals suffering from headaches – especially migraines – is actually higher than studies suggest because many individuals do not seek medical attention for the headaches, but treat them through self-medication with over the counter medications.  In addition, these numbers include only active duty personnel, they do not include those that are deployed in other areas.  This applies to personnel who received a hospital discharge or outpatient diagnosis of migraine.

Determining the number of individuals that have migraines is an important first step to helping control them.  Often, the right medication taken on a regular basis or taken at the initial onset of a migraine can prevent the migraine from becoming full-blown and debilitating.

Now that the military has gathered the information on active duty personnel, it is hoped that there will be a similar study involving deployed personnel as well.

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