Headache is a common complaint in the general population, which tends to interfere with the quality of life of the affected individuals and may represent a burden for the National Health Service. To assess the prevalence and characteristics of headache, and to estimate the direct costs of the disease in a well-defined population, a pilot study was undertaken in a random sample of patients seen in office or home consultations by seven family doctors in Varese. Three hundred and four patients were invited to fill a semistructured questionnaire with data on the presence and clinical characteristics of the headache, the past diagnostic assessment, the current treatment(s), and the impact of symptoms on the daily living activities. The family doctors were also invited to make a diagnosis using the International Headache Society (IHS) Classification. Based on our findings, headache is a common symptom among patients consulting family doctors (58% of cases). Interference of symptoms with the quality of life is not infrequent. Request of diagnostic aids (mostly skull x-rays and EEG), loss of work days, self-treatment, lack of medication or use of simple analgesics are common in patients with headache. The IHS Classification is impractical for the diagnosis of headache in clinical practice.
|Translated title of the contribution||Prevalence and costs of headache in general practice|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Ricerca e Pratica|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas