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Headache Disorders Prevalent But Under-Treated And Cause Financial Burden, WHO Report Says

Approximately half to three quarters of adults ages 18 to 65 experienced headache last year, making headache disorders one of the most prevalent but under-treated health problems in the world, according to a report released Tuesday by the WHO, Xinhua reports (Deng, 5/4).

The report, titled, “Atlas of Headache Disorders and Resources in the World 2011,” said that “financial costs of headaches to society through lost productivity are enormous – far greater than the health care expenditure on headaches in any country,” the U.N. News Centre states. The report noted that “greater investment in health care that treats headaches effectively, through well-organized health services and supported by education, may well be cost-saving overall,” according to the news service (5/3).

The three most frequently experienced types of headache disorders include migraine, tension-type headache and those caused by medication overuse, Xinhua notes (5/4).

“Governments must take the issue more seriously, train health personnel in headache disorder diagnosis and treatment, and ensure appropriate medication is available and used properly,” Shekhar Saxena, the WHO’s director of mental health and substance abuse disorders, said in an emailed statement about the report, Reuters reports (Kelland, 5/3).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.