Chronic migraine

Chronic migraine is migraine headache more than 15 days/month.

Also called “migraine transformation” because in most it begins with episodic migraine – the migraine pattern then gradually transforms to one of near daily headache.

Near constant headaches are often a mix of migraine and ‘tension-type’ headaches.

Approximately 1% of adults meet the criteria for chronic migraine.

90% of chronic migraine patients are women who first had episodic migraine without aura.

Up to 30% of those with migraine may eventually develop chronic migraine.

The migraine pattern ‘transforms’ to that of chronic migraine in about 3% of episodic migraine patients each year.

Those at highest risk of migraine transformation include:

  • Women, especially Caucasian women.
  • Those with at least one episodic migraine per week.
  • Those with longer duration of disease – migraine usually began in teens or 20’s – ‘transforms’ in 40’s.
  • Those who are overweight – obesity raises the risk of transformation to chronic migraine 5x.
  • Those with sleep apnea or who snore.
  • Those with a history of head injury.
  • Those using acute migraine medications more than 2 days/week.
  • Those who are ‘heavy’ users of caffeine.
  • Those with major life stress may have a 3x greater risk of migraine transformation.

Early, effective treatment of migraine disease may reduce the risk of transformation.

Effective migraine prevention may reduce the risk of transformation.

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