Background and purpose: The epidemiology and impact of headache disorders are only partially documented for Asian countries. We investigated the prevalence and impact of migraine and tension-type headache - which are the two most common primary headache disorders - in a Korean population.
Methods: A stratified random population sample of Koreans older than 19 years was selected and evaluated using a 29-item, semistructured interview. The questionnaire was designed to classify headache types according to the criteria of the International Classification of Headache Disorders, second edition, including migraine and tension-type headache. The questionnaire also included items on basic demographics such as age, gender, geographical region, education level, and income, and the impact of headache on the participant.
Results: Among the 1507 participants, the 1-year prevalence of all types of headaches was 61.4% (69.9% in women and 52.8% in men). The overall prevalence rates of migraine and tension-type headaches were 6.1% (9.2% in women and 2.9% in men) and 30.8% (29.3% in women and 32.2% in men), respectively. The prevalence of migraine peaked at the age of 40-49 years in women and 19-29 years in men. In contrast to migraine, the prevalence of tension-type headache was not influenced by either age or gender. Among individuals with migraine and tension-type headache, 31.5% and 7% reported being substantially or severely impacted by headache, respectively (Headache Impact Test score ≥56). Overall, 13.4% of all headache sufferers reported being either substantially or severely impacted by headache.
Conclusions: The 1-year prevalence rates of migraine and tension-type headache in the studied Korean population were 6.1% and 30.8%, respectively. One-third of migraineurs and some individuals with tension-type headache reported being either substantially or severely impacted by headache.
Keywords: epidemiology; headache; impact; migraine; prevalence; tension-type headache.