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Keywords:

  • headache;
  • income;
  • migraine;
  • tension-type headache;
  • employment

(Headache 2011;51:971-979)

Objectives.— The objectives of the present study were to estimate the 1-year prevalence of primary headaches and the role of select socio-demographic aspects in a representative sample of adults living in a Brazilian shanty town.

Background.— Some socio-demographic factors, such as marital status, income, education, and job status have been described in studies with contentious results. Nevertheless, few studies have assessed the prevalence of headache and the role of socio-demographic aspects in very low-income communities.

Methods.— A cross-sectional, population-based study was undertaken. Door-to-door interviews with 383 people were conducted. Individuals were aged greater than 18 years, randomly selected from the “Paraisopolis” shanty town in São Paulo, Brazil. The degree of the association was calculated through prevalence ratios and adjusted with backward logistic regression by gender, age, and some socio-demographic factors, including living conditions.

Results.— The estimated 1-year prevalence of headache, migraine, chronic migraine, and tension-type headache were 47% (CI 95%: 39.5-52.6%), 20.4% (CI 95%: 16.6-24.9%), 8.4% (CI 95%: 6.1-12.0%), and 6.2% (CI 95%: 3.3-9.8%), respectively. Migraine was more prevalent in women and among employed people. No other relationship was found. The overall prevalence of migraine and chronic migraine in this very low-income community were high and migraine was associated with gender and job status.

Conclusion.— The overall prevalence of migraine and chronic migraine in this very low-income community were high and tension-type headache was low. A paradox was noted in the employment status and income association, one would expect higher levels of migraine in a low-income population, but higher numbers were found in those employed vs unemployed. These findings will need to be replicated in other population samples.