HeadWise HeadWise: Volume 2, Issue 2 - Page 15

The Cluster Club DID YOU KNOW? Smoking is a known contributor to headache, both for those smoking and those impacted by second-hand smoke. Nicotine, one of the compounds found in tobacco, has vascular properties that may contribute to headache. PEOPLE WITH CLUSTER HEADACHE are more likely to have brown and blue eyes than hazel eyes. It might seem strange to identify a headache patient by his or her eye color, but people with cluster headache do appear to fit a certain profile. Approximately 500,000 cluster patients live in the United States. In late 2008, a U.S. Cluster Headache Survey was sent to approximately 9,000 of these patients and included 187 questions about everything from clinical to economic issues related to cluster headache. The results were published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Headache. Here’s what they learned about U.S. cluster patients: 36% are between the ages of 21 and 30 80% have headaches on a daily basis 34% have brown eyes 42% spent five years waiting for a correct diagnosis 82% deny a family history of cluster headache 52% noted alcohol as a trigger 21% note an aura before a cluster attack 73% have a current or prior history of tobacco use With such a high number of cluster patients reporting they are smokers, the results suggest that smoking is a risk factor for cluster headache. Perhaps most concerning, of participants in the study, 55 percent have had suicidal thoughts, 17 percent have lost a full-time job as a result of cluster headaches and 11 percent noted they are homebound more than 30 days per year. FAST FACT: Women feel pain more intensely than men, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Pain. Women report their pain levels to be about 20 percent higher than men for a number of conditions, from inflammatory pain to sinus infections. www.headaches.org | National Headache Foundation 13