Background and Purpose: Headache occurs worldwide, but documentation on the burden of headache in Saudi communities is quite limited. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of primary headache in a rural community in the Qassim region of Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A door-to-door survey of subjects older than 15 years of age was used for completion of a structured questionnaire to determine headache types based on defined criteria. Physical examination was used to exclude secondary causes.
Results: Of 5891 inhabitants, 473 suffered from headaches. The crude lifetime prevalence rate was 8% (95% CI, 7.3% to 8.7%) and with age adjustment was 9.3% (8.6% to 10%). Headache sufferers were predominantly women. The age-specific rate increased progressively, peaking in the sixth decade. Tension-type headache diagnosed in 185 subjects predominated (3.1%), while the prevalence of migraine was 2.6%.
Conclusion: The findings agree with the reported prevalence of 10% to 12% in other communities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but lower than the rates in Western countries. The lower rates are probably related to sociocultural factors.