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Headache in the HUNT Study: Analytical Headache Epidemiology as a Source of Added Knowledge

  • Knut HagenEmail author
  • Lars Jacob Stovner
Chapter
Part of the Headache book series (HEAD)

Abstract

Headache epidemiological studies aiming to detect causes of headaches are quite rare compared with those that measure prevalence and burden. The Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey (Helseundersøkelsen i Nord-Trøndelag: HUNT) is a large health survey of all inhabitants in one county, performed in adults in four waves (HUNT1-4) from 1985 to 2019, and in adolescents (Young-HUNT) from 1995. A wide array of health-related data and risk factors have been collected. Questions about headache (migraine and tension-type headache) have been included since HUNT2 in 1995, allowing estimates of associations between headache and putative risk factors both cross-sectionally (in the same study) and longitudinally (in follow-up studies).

Interesting associations have been found with socioeconomic factors, comorbid conditions (anxiety, depression, sleep problems, musculoskeletal pain, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, hay fever, diabetes and dementia), blood analyses (haemoglobin and thyroid-stimulating hormone), blood pressure and other vascular risk factors, behavioural factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, use of analgesics and physical exercise/peak oxygen uptake), female hormonal factors and life events (oestrogen-containing drugs, age at menarche, pregnancy and parity), head injuries, intracranial infections and white matter hyperintensities in magnetic resonance imaging.

Findings are mainly hypothesis generating, but may be of value for understanding causes and mechanisms of headache, which may itself give rise to better treatment and/or prevention.

Keywords

Headache Analytical epidemiological studies Longitudinal surveys Cause Risk factors Helseundersøkelsen i Nord-Trøndelag HUNT The Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neuromedicine and Movement ScienceNTNU Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Advisory Unit on Headaches, Department of Neurology and Clinical NeurophysiologySt Olavs University HospitalTrondheimNorway

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