Skip to content

    Migraines & Headaches Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Poorer Teens May Get More Migraines

    Stress, Poor Diet, and Less Medical Care May Be Linked to Migraines in Teens
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    July 2, 2007 -- Poorer teenagers may be more likely to suffer from migraine headaches than richer teens.

    Genetics play a big part in determining the risk of developing painful migraine headaches, but a new study suggests that family income may also play a role in migraine risk.

    "Possible factors associated with low socioeconomic status, such as stress, poor diet or limited access to medical care may be responsible for this increase," says researcher Marcelo E. Bigal, MD, PhD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., in a news release.

    Migraines in Teens

    Researchers looked at the prevalence of migraines in a group of more than 18,000 teens and their parents. Overall, 6.3% of the teens reported experiencing one or more migraines in the previous year.

    As in adults, the prevalence of migraines in teens was higher among girls than boys and among whites vs. African-Americans.

    Among teenagers who had a parent with migraines, about 8% of both high- and low-income teens had migraines.

    But when researchers looked at teens who weren't genetically predisposed to migraines, they found family income played a major role, with 4.4% of low-income teens vs. 2.9% of high-income teens reporting migraines.

    "It would seem that for those teens who have a genetic predisposition for migraine, the stressful life events related to income don't matter," says Bigal. "They're more likely than other teens to get migraine regardless of their socioeconomic status, since they are predisposed."

    Researchers say psychiatric factors -- such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse -- were not examined in this study and may help explain the results, which appear in Neurology.

    "Our study also suggests that we should explore environmental risk factors, such as stressful events and nutrition, as they relate to low income and migraine to understand how we might reduce the occurrence of migraine among these individuals," says Bigal.

    Today on WebMD

    Business woman with hand on face and eyes closed
    What aura looks like, triggers, and more.
    woman with migraine
    Get the truth about migraines.
     
    headache in the bedroom
    Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
    woman with hands on head
    Test your knowledge of triggers, types, and more.
     
    woman with migraine
    Quiz
    drinking coffee
    Article
     
    Migraines Headaches Basics
    Article
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
     
    Tired young man
    Slideshow
    spraying perfume
    Article
     
    man with a headache
    Article
    headache in the bedroom
    Article