GPs underestimate impact of migraine on patients

CREDIT: This story was first seen in OnMedica

Some GPs and other health professionals do not fully appreciate the impact of migraine on patients who struggle to get support for their condition at work, claim three leading charities for this issue, OnMedica reports.

New figures released today by three charities, The Migraine Trust, Migraine Action and the National Migraine Centre, highlight concerns over lack of workplace support for people who experience migraine.

The charities commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey of 2,238 adults to learn about their knowledge of the condition and what support migraine sufferers receive. The poll was carried out to coincide with Migraine Awareness Week (3-9 September).

Results showed that more than a fifth (21%) of people thought health professionals did not realise the characteristics and impact of the condition on their patients.

Almost two thirds (64%) of the respondents believed employers did not understand very much or at all about the nature of migraine and its effects on their staff.

It is estimated that each year, 25 million days are lost through migraine from UK work or schools, costing Britain’s economy £2.5bn. Nine million people in the UK experience migraine – around one in seven people.

More than two thirds (70%) of people responding to the survey were either unsure or did not know whether migraine could be classed as a disability. Under current legislation, it can be classed as a disability if its severity and frequency impacts on a person’s working life.

This was despite the fact that 82% of those people quizzed had experienced migraine or knew someone who had faced the condition.

While there was low awareness of less common symptoms of this complex condition, among the major symptoms, 86% of UK adults identified a throbbing headache, 82% sensitivity to light or noise, 77% nausea and 67% seeing coloured spots or flashing lights.

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Almost half of the adults questioned (49%) believed schools and universities failed to understand migraine’s nature and its effects on their students, while only 49% correctly thought that children can be affected by migraine.

Arlene Wilkie, chief executive at The Migraine Trust, said: “This YouGov poll signals a wake-up call with the reality that while migraine appears to have touched the majority of people polled, the very debilitating and serious nature of the condition is still not recognised.

“The findings will strike a chord with many sufferers who have received inadequate backing from their bosses, schools and universities.”

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