Migraine, the third most prevalent illness in the world, affecting 1 billion globally and nearly 40 million men, women, and children in the U.S. Migraine is much more than a bad headache. It is a neurological condition with extremely incapacitating symptoms. Chances are you know someone affected by migraine or deal with migraine yourself on a monthly, weekly, or even in some cases, daily basis. The debilitating pain and frequency of migraine can cause significant disruption for those living with the condition, their loved ones, and work colleagues. Migraine does not stop for taking care of families, for special occasions, or projects and deadlines at work. Given its devastating impact on an individual’s ability to function, there is a significant need for greater awareness, understanding, and medical progress to address this costly chronic condition.
Migraine patients also commonly have other comorbid conditions that complicate their medical treatment, making treatment more complex and costly. Given that May is Mental Health Month as well as Arthritis Awareness Month it is worth noting that mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and arthritis are among the most common comorbidities for people living with migraine. Heart related comorbidities are also common.
A significant portion of PFCD’s work in recent years has focused on not only raising awareness about the costs of chronic disease, but also about opportunities to reduce the costs , both human and economic, as well as disease burden. Recent efforts have included closer examination of the burden of –Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness. The data clearly present an urgent need for attention. The projected total costs at stake cry out for innovations that can better prevent and diagnose chronic diseases, but perhaps most importantly, can better treat and manage existing chronic conditions for the 191 million people in America with at least 1 chronic disease, 75 million of whom have 2 or more chronic diseases.
As with many neurological conditions, increased migraine research is leading to better understanding its presentation, genetic linkages, and new treatments, including ways to prevent migraine and reduce its toll. Recently, the FDA approved a new class of preventive treatment for migraine that offer migraineurs more options. A recent study found that adoption of a new course of preventive treatment for migraine could potentially save $396 billion over ten years. Projected savings are primarily related to recouped hours of productivity, decreased need for migraine medicines, and fewer medical visits.
For people living with migraine the ability to prevent their occurrence marks a significant improvement in quality of life. Preventive care, early diagnosis, and medication adherence are just a few of the essential aspects of effective management of migraine and the other chronic conditions that often accompany it. Research shows that behavioral changes and treatment advances can add up to incredible savings and progress in terms of the way our health care system addresses chronic conditions, like migraine.
For more from PFCD on migraine please visit https://www.fightchronicdisease.org/issues/migraine.