Lifetime Prevalence of Migraine and Other Headaches Lasting 4 or More Hours: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study

April L.Perry Carson, Kathryn M. Rose, Catherine P. Sanford, Sara A. Ephross, Paul E. Stang, Kelly J. Hunt, C. Andrew Brown, Moyses Szklo

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Objective.-To evaluate the lifetime prevalence of migraine and other headaches lasting 4 or more hours in a population-based study of older adults. Background.-Migraine and other headaches not fulfilling migraine criteria are common afflictions. Yet the health and social effects of these conditions have not been fully appreciated, particularly among older adults. Methods.-The study included 12 750 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study from 4 US communities. Prevalence estimates of a lifetime history of migraine and other headaches lasting 4 or more hours were obtained for race and gender groups. A cross-sectional analysis was done to assess the relationship between headache type, by aura status, and various sociodemographic and health-related indices. Results.-Compared to education beyond high school, having completed less than 12 years of education was significantly associated with an increased occurrence of migraine with aura (prevalence odds ratio [PORI, 1.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08 to 2.01). Family income less than $16 000, compared to family income of $75 000 or greater, was significantly associated with migraine with aura (POR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.07 to 2.64), migraine without aura (POR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.14 to 2.14), and other headaches with aura (POR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.14 to 3.13). The prevalence odds ratio was higher in each headache category, particularly for those with an aura, for those with hypertension versus normotension and for those who perceived their general health as poor compared to those whose perception was excellent. Conclusions.-A lifetime history of migraine with aura and other headaches with aura was more common among whites, women, and younger participants. Further investigation of headaches lasting 4 or more hours, particularly by aura status, is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004



  • Aura
  • Epidemiology
  • Headache
  • Migraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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