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Keywords:

  • migraine;
  • prevalence;
  • tension-type headache;
  • recurrent headache;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Chinese

Objective.—To assess the prevalence of migraine and other headaches in Hong Kong in 1998.

Background.—A community-based prevalence survey of headache was carried out from July 1992 to March 1993, and the prevalence rates were 1% for migraine, 2% for tension-type headache, and 1% for other headaches. A similar survey was carried out in May and June 1998 to interview individuals aged 15 years or older. Recurrent headache was defined as having two or more headaches unrelated either to influenza or a common cold within the past 12 months.

Methods.—Respondents with recurrent headache were offered a personal interview for clinical validation. Of 3156 randomly selected individuals, 1436 responded.

Results.—Headache was due to influenza or a common cold in 270 (18.8%) respondents; recurrent headache affected 533 (37.1%) respondents. The overall prevalence rates were 4.7% for migraine, 26.9% for tension-type headache, and 5.5% for other headaches. Clinical validation was available for 72 respondents. After adjustment for possible misclassification, the estimated prevalence rates became 12.5% for migraine, 18.7% for tension-type headache, and 6.0% for other headaches. There was a female preponderance for all types of headache with a peak in the 25- to 34-year-age group for tension-type headache.

Conclusions.—All types of headache were more common in the 1998 study, and the prevalence rates were closer to those of Western communities.