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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


RONDON, Juana; PADRON-FREYTEZ, Alix  and  RADA F., Remy. The prevalence of migraines among primary- and secondary-school students in Mérida, Venezuela. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.9, n.2, pp.73-77. ISSN 1680-5348.

Objective. The epidemiological impact of headaches in populations is not adequately known since most of the data come from clinical studies. Therefore, we decided to survey a population of students in the municipality of Libertador, in the state of Mérida, Venezuela, to determine the prevalence of migraines, the incapacitating effect of headaches in general, and the proportion of individuals who self-medicate. Methods. We first used stratified sampling to choose schools in the municipality, and then simple random sampling to select which classrooms to survey. A total of 1 714 students, ranging in age from 10 to 21 years old, completed a survey. Results. Among the students, 84.4% of them reported having had headaches, and 16.8% of them reported experiencing migraines. We did not find a noticeable incapacitating effect of migraines in this population. Of the students who had had headaches, 69.2% of them did not request medical care, and 80.3% of them reported self-medicating. Conclusions. From these results we conclude that migraines are very frequent among this population. Judging from the levels of self-medication and the lack of medical attention for headaches, we believe there is a shortfall in health services coverage and a deficiency in public information, which together lead to an underreporting of headaches.

Keywords : Cefalalgia; migraña; adolescencia; prevalencia; automedicación.

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