With a massive 6.7 million migraine sufferers in England alone, it is surprising that the condition earns such little attention from the media and policy makers.
It appears, though, that reforms are on their way, and migraine sufferers may be able to look forward to a brighter future if a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Headache Disorders (APPGPHD) achieve their targets to highlight and raise awareness of the key issues affecting sufferers and their families.
The Group is lookingin detail at whether the current healthcare system is doing enough to support migraine sufferers and if more support could be offered by health professionals. With the number of neurologists in relation to the population thought to be up to 10 times lower than in some EU countries, it is expected that the Group will not have to look far in identifying areas of improvement.
Measures that could be recommended by the APPGPHD include: better headache training for GPs; better training for nurses on the symptoms and treatments available for migraines and more specialist ‘headache nurses’ (currently only 11 in England); an increase in the number of specialist clinics across the UK.
Currently, less than half of us who suffer from migraines consult a doctor about our condition and it is thought that a large number of people go undiagnosed and/or under-treated for a significant length of time before receiving adequate health care.
Headache disorders are known to not only impact on the lives of sufferers, but also on family and friends. And with other issues attributed to migraines including depression, low self esteem and, in severe cases, even suicide, the APPGPHD’s review can’t come soon enough.
With an estimated 20 million days a year missed by employees and students due to primary headache disorders, the All-Party Parliamentary Group will also be aware that it isn’t just the direct cost to the NHS that is at stake but the wider implications for the economy.
According to Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP who will chair the panel:
“There are large gains to be made by treating headache appropriately for the patient, the NHS, the economy and wider society.
“We have a significant way to go before the provision of services and support is sufficient to address the burden of primary headache disorders across England.”
According the the Migraine Trust, it is important for those suffering from regular and repeated migraines to keep a migraine diary (read more here). A migraine diary can assist a doctor in making a solid diagnosis based on evidence over time. Keeping track of foods eaten, activities undertaken and other lifestyle habits on the days of migraines may also help you and your GP to recognised triggers and otherwise overlooked warning signs.
Article updated December 2018
Migraine treatments from Express Pharmacy
Pharmacists are well placed to offer guidance and advice to migraine sufferers. At Express Pharmacy we offer a range of migraine treatments and medications as well as advice and guidance to those suffering from a primary headache disorder.
Book a consultation online today or speak to one of our fully-qualified pharmacists on 0208 123 0703.