D. Kernick, D. Reinhold
Jan 1, 2002
Current Medical Research and Opinion
Summary Aim of study: Headache has a significant impact on public health in terms of quality of life and economic consequences, but in primary care, needs often remain unmet in terms of recognition, diagnosis and treatment. Our aim was to measure the prevalence of headache sufficient to affect the quality of life of undergraduate students who were entering the University of Exeter. Method: 1124 consecutive undergraduate entrants aged 21 and under who registered at the Student Health Centre at the beginning of the academic year were invited to complete a questionnaire during their registration procedure. We used the Headache Impact Score to measure effect of headache on quality of life. Results: A completed questionnaire was received from 1057 (94%) students registering at the Health Centre. 212 (21%) of these students had headaches that affected the quality of their life. Of these, 95 (45%) had seen a doctor previously about their headaches and 28 (13%) had headaches on more than 15 days a month. Less than 5% were taking prescription medication. The headache impact score was 56 indicating a substantial impact on quality of life of students. Conclusion: Headache has a considerable impact on the quality of life of students entering University which we speculate may have a deleterious effect on educational attainment. This study has confirmed the findings of other population groups that morbidity from headache is often unrecognised and under treated.