A person who experiences a Barometric Pressure Headache can be classified depending on whether they experience Non-Migraine Type or Migraine Type Headaches (refer to What is a Barometric Pressure Headache?).

Given that the study of headaches due to weather-related variables (such as barometric pressure, humidity and temperature) though widely cited is poorly documented in scientific literature, it is still unclear at present as to the true impact of Barometric Pressure Headaches. However, if one takes into account the mass of circumstantial evidence with the data which is available, it is reasonable to conclude that weather and altitude related headaches have been and continue to be under acknowledged, and are experienced by a significant percentage of the population. For example,  a medical practitioner might conclude that a person suffers from migraines and medicates them with some degree of success, without ever realizing that their migraines are in reality triggered by specific weather conditions.

This has important implications on both a personal level e.g. suffering and reduced quality of life, as well as on a wider economic level e.g. under performance at work, loss of work days, incentive for pharmaceuticals to invest large sums of money in order to produce targeted drugs etc.

The following general headache data is taken from a variety of studies and makes for interesting reading:

  • 85%-90% of the population experience occasional headache pain.
  • 10%-15% of the population experience Chronic Headaches (50% of these report severe Migraine Headaches).
  • 10 million consultations are undertaken by the medical profession in America for people seeking treatment for headache pain.
  • 75% suffer Tension-Type Headaches.
    • 40% more frequent in women compared to men.
    • 3% of the population has Chronic Tension-Type Headaches.
    • Can be divided in to the following sub-categories:
      • Frequent Episodic.
      • Infrequent Episodic.
      • Chronic.
      • Probable.
  • 12% suffer Migraine Headaches:
    • 75%  who experience Auras also report some form of Tension Type Headache.
    • 83%  who do not experience Auras also report some form of Tension Type Headache.
    • Over 80% experience some degree of headache related disability which affects their daily/social life and work performance.
    • Gender related:
      • Boys appear to have migraines more often than girls up to the age of puberty.
      • Female to male ratio is approximately 75%:25%  i.e. 3 times more women than men. Hormone levels are a factor.
        • 60% of women who experience migraines suffer from Menstrual Migraines (probably linked with falling Estrogen levels).
        • Up to 90% of women report their migraines are less frequent in last two trimesters of pregnancy.
      • 17%  of female population suffer from migraines.
      • 5% of male population suffer from migraines.
    • Race related (recent study involving American data):
      • Women meeting criteria for migraine: 20.4%  of Caucasians-Americans, 16.2% of African-Americans and 9.2% of Asian-Americans.
      • Men meeting criteria for migraine: 8.6% of Caucasians-Americans, 7.2% of African-Americans and 4.8% of Asian-Americans.
    • Age related:
      • Most common between 25-55 years of age and peak around age 40.
      • Frequency and intensity declines between the ages of 60-70.
    • Family related:
      • 80% have a family member(s) who suffer from migraines.
    • One study in particular showed that over 50% of the migraine sufferers (migraineurs) tested were sensitive to weather. A significant number were sensitive to barometric pressure as well as to more than one type of weather factor.
    • Other research indicated that the most common cause of migraine is stress, second is hormonal and third is due to barometric pressure changes. Another study placed the most common triggers or aggravating factors in the following sequence: stress, weather conditions (including barometric pressure), hormones followed by intense or flickering light.
    • Experts estimate that the annual cost of migraines in America exceeds $17 billion and consumes 160 million days lost from work.
    • Various reports indicate the percentage of people experiencing migraines is increasing.
  • Only 0.5%-1% suffer Cluster Headaches:
    • 80% are male.
    • Typically start in the age group 30s and 40s.