Chronic daily headache in Chinese elderly: Prevalence, risk factors, and biannual follow-up

Shuu Jun Wang*, J. L. Fuh, S. R. Lu, C. Y. Liu, L. C. Hsu, P. N. Wang, H. C. Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

264 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the prevalence, risk factors, and prognosis of chronic daily headache (CDH) in a population of elderly Chinese subjects. Methods: A community-based survey of registered residents ≥65 years old (n = 2,003) in two townships of Kinmen Island in 1993. A neurologist used a structured questionnaire and clinical interview to make the diagnosis of headache. Subjects who had headaches ≥15 days/month for ≥6 months in the previous year were considered to have CDH. CDH was further classified into chronic tension-type headache (CTTH), CDH with migrainous features (CDH/MF), and other CDH. Person-to-person biannual follow-up of the subjects with CDH was done in June 1995 and August 1997. Results: A total of 1,533 people (77%) participated in our prevalence study. Sixty subjects (3.9%) fulfilled the criteria for CDH, with a higher prevalence in women (F/M: 5.6%/1.8%, p < 0.001). Of these subjects, 42 (70%) had CTTH, 15 (25%) had CDH/F, and 3 (5%) had other CDH. Only 23% of those with CDH had consulted physicians for their headaches in the previous year. Multivariate logistic regression revealed the significant risk factors for CDH to be analgesic overuse (OR = 79), a history of migraine (OR = 6.6), and a Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form score of ≥ 8 (OR = 2.6). The follow-up results in 1995 and 1997 showed that about two-thirds of the subjects still had CDH. Analgesic overuse (relative risk = 1.6) in 1993 was a significant predictor of persistent CDH at follow-up. Conclusions: A total of 3.9% of this elderly population had CDH, with CTTH being the most common subtype. Almost two-thirds of those with CDH had persistent frequent headaches at follow-up. Analgesic overuse was a significant predictor of a poor outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-319
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2000


  • Chronic daily headache
  • Epidemiology
  • Old age
  • Prevalence


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