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One-quarter of individuals with weekly headache have never consulted a medical doctor: a Danish nationwide cross-sectional survey

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INTRODUCTION: Large numbers of people with headache who would benefit are not reached by headache services. Among the causes are poor or disorganized provision of headache services, but reluctance to seek healthcare has frequently been identified as a significant barrier. We conducted a national survey of people with headache to assess the extent of this problem in Denmark, a country with well organized, highly resourced, and readily accessible services.

METHODS: We conducted a nationwide cross-sectional survey of adults ≥ 18 years old in Denmark reporting at least one headache day in the last year. We used social media (Facebook) to publicize and drive a recruitment campaign. The survey investigated five items: (1) disease burden, (2) social life, (3) presenteeism, (4) social support, and (5) healthcare utilization.

RESULTS: We included 6,567 respondents from May 2021 to June 2021; 70.2% were female, 39.8% male, and mean age was 43.2 ± 13.4 years. Of the respondents, 54.2% reported headache at least once a week, 33.4% reported headache a couple of times a month, and 12.4% reported headache a couple of times a year. Two-thirds of respondents (66.6%) reported that headache limited their social lives occasionally or frequently. Most respondents (86.8%) reported going to work or attending educational activities occasionally or more frequently even though they had headache. Half of the respondents (49.5%) experienced lack of understanding of their headaches from people occasionally or more frequently. Almost half of respondents (43.7%) had never consulted a medical doctor for their headache; even of those with weekly headache, more than a quarter (28.3%) had never done so in their lifetimes.

CONCLUSIONS: Headache disorders continue to be a problem, even in a high-income country with free and easily accessible headache services. Further studies are needed to investigate and clarify why even people with the highest burden are hesitant to seek and make use of widely available headache services.

TidsskriftThe Journal of Headache and Pain Online
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)84
StatusUdgivet - 18 jul. 2022

Bibliografisk note

© 2022. The Author(s).

ID: 79496100