One in 1,000 people worldwide have a neurological condition called cluster headaches, which is one of the most painful conditions out there.
Attacks of extreme pain on one side of the head are caused by the condition. Attacks can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. They are more common in the Autumn and Spring.
There is no cure for the mystery disease. Treatments for cluster headaches are designed to treat other health conditions so their effectiveness is not optimal and treatment response may vary for each person.
It has been reported that cluster headaches are more common in men than in women. Two recent studies have shown that women are more affected by cluster headaches than men.
We compared how cluster headaches affected men and women.
We recruited 575 men and 299 women, and asked them to fill out a questionnaire detailing their symptoms, what they took, their lifestyle habits, and their headaches.
Women with cluster headaches were more affected than men. Around 18 percent of female participants were affected by the chronic, more severe form of cluster headaches.
Three months is the equivalent of chronic cluster headaches. Women reported having headaches longer than men.
Women said that the lack of sleep was a factor in their headaches. More females with cluster headaches reported sleeping less than males.
Women were more likely to use prescription drugs to manage their headaches than men were. Almost 30 percent of women in the study had migraines, compared to 13 percent of men.
We used the population register to get data on healthcare visits and absence from work due to health issues.
We were able to understand the impact of cluster headaches on other people. We compared the number of people with cluster headaches to the number of people who didn't have it.
94 percent of women who had cluster headaches also had other health problems, according to our research. Only 89 percent of women without cluster headaches had other health problems.
Men with cluster headaches were more likely to get injured. It was not possible to collect data on which health conditions or physical injuries were the most common.
Patients with cluster headaches were more likely to miss work due to illness or retire early because of disability. Women with cluster headaches had more sickness absence and retired earlier than men with cluster headaches.
It's time to stop thinking about cluster headaches as a male disease and think about the disproportionate effect it has on women. It is important that the sex differences in how cluster headaches manifest are known so that the right care can be given to all patients.
It's clear from our research that the impact cluster headaches can have on a person's life, but it will be important for future research to use different study methods to ensure greater accuracy, and to look at whether men and women respond to treatments differently.
Some health conditions may be more common in people with cluster headaches than in the rest of the population.
Patients with cluster headaches wait a long time to get a proper diagnosis. They don't have access to any treatment for their condition.
It's important to keep raising awareness about the condition because it can have a serious effect on a person's life and health.
The Associate Professor of Neuroscience and the researcher of the Department of Neuroscience are from the same institute.
Under a Creative Commons license, this article is re-posted. The original article is worth a read.