How Does A Declining Economy Impact Your Health?
Survey shows correlation between the current economic condition and headache treatment and prevention
Chicago, IL – October 14, 2008 – The current economic condition might be impacting yet another aspect of your life-your health. Results form the most recent online survey conducted by the National Headache Foundation (NHF) focus on how the economic downturn is affecting headache sufferers. The study reveals headache sufferers make significant changes in headache treatment and prevention methods during a financial crisis.
Eighty-two percent of survey respondents claim to have made financial cut-backs due to the current economic situation. For example, more than half (62 %) of respondents reported making dietary changes in response to the rising costs of food. Research shows that certain foods can act as triggers to headaches and dietary changes should be monitored accordingly. Additionally, stress, lack of sleep and anxiety were cited as the top three headache triggers by respondents. All of these conditions were also reported as occurring as a result of the economic strain on the participants’ lifestyles.
When asked about treatment methods, 63 % admit they rely on prescribed medications for their headache. However, since the economic decline, 29 % have either delayed or skipped filling prescriptions for headache medications due to financial set-backs. Another 53 % switched to over-the-counter medication instead of their prescription medication to treat headache in an effort to save money.
“It’s not the economy that causes headaches, it’s the impact of the economy on lifestyles that can potentially trigger a headache,” says Suzanne Simons, Executive Director of the NHF. “Most people are dealing with higher levels of stress and anxiety over their financial situations, but to a migraineur, those emotions can translate into debilitating pain. On top of it, those who are suffering financially may not have access to proper medical care. This translates into a more severe hardship.”
Additional NHF survey results:
• 43% of respondents said they have made changes in spending on healthcare purchases such as services or medications
• 48% reported “concern or uncertainty about the future” as a headache trigger
• 50% of respondents attributed diet changes as having an effect on their headaches
NHF’S TIPS FOR MANAGING HEADACHE DURING ECONOMIC DOWNTURN:
• If you are unable to afford your medication, many pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs. Talk to your doctor or visit the NHF Web site (www.headaches.org) and click on Headache Education-Tools for Sufferers for a list of available programs.
• Talk to your doctor about your financial situation; there may be a generic form of your prescription available.
• Be aware of your individual food triggers. When making grocery choices, try to maintain a healthy diet and consider purchasing store brand items rather than name brand products.
• Practice relaxation techniques such as guided imagery or visualization.
• Include exercise in your daily routine, even a brisk walk can help to reduce stress.
Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, which are most commonly experienced between the ages of 15 and 55. Seventy to eighty percent of sufferers have a family history of migraine. Seventy percent of migraine sufferers are women. Less than half of all migraine sufferers have received a diagnosis of migraine from their healthcare professional. Migraine is often misdiagnosed as sinus or tension-type headache.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL HEADACHE FOUNDATION
The National Headache Foundation, founded in 1970, is a non-profit organization which exists to enhance the healthcare of headache sufferers. It is a source of help to sufferers’ families, physicians who treat headache sufferers, allied healthcare professionals and to the public. The NHF accomplishes its mission by providing educational and informational resources, supporting headache research and advocating for the understanding of headache as a legitimate neurobiological disease. Interviews with headache specialists are available upon request.
For more information on headache causes and treatments, visit www.headaches.org or call 1-888-NHF-5552 (M-F. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT).
Suzanne E. Simons
National Headache Foundation
(215) 925-9901, ext. 1426