Prevalence of migraine and non-migraine headache among high school students at the National Guard Housing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Saudi Med J. 2009 Jan; 30(1):120-4.SM
To determine the prevalence of headache and migraine, to identify symptoms that accompany headache attack, and to determine the possible effect of headache on school attendance, among high school students.
A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study of secondary school students of the National Guard Housing in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was executed during the academic year of 2002 and 2003. A sample of 1750 students was included from 4 schools by systemic random sampling for each school. The questionnaire included demographic data. The second part includes specific questions on headache, and whether there had been headache in the year preceding the survey, type of headache, and its diagnosis according to International Headache Society (IHS) criteria. Possible effect of headache on school attendance was recorded.
Approximately one-third of the entire study sample had recurrent headache episodes not related to febrile illness in the year preceding the survey. Female students showed a significantly higher prevalence than males of migraine, as well as non-migraine headache, with the least prevalence among the younger students of ages 16-17 years. More than one-third of all students were absent from school due to headache.
Recurrent headache is prevalent among the high school students, and more among female students. These prevalence rates are comparable with those reported elsewhere. Health education sessions at schools, primary care clinics, and the society in general are recommended to increase awareness for this common adolescent's neurological problem.