Primary Headache Disorders: A cross-sectional evaluation in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)

Cefaleas primarias: Análisis transversal del Estudio Longitudinal de Salud del Adulto en Brasil


Primary headaches affect significant proportion of general population worldwide. Our aim was to describe primary headaches epidemiology among middle-aged adults in a large Brazilian cohort,


A cross-sectional analysis was performed between primary headaches and sociodemographic using baseline data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil).


From 15,093 participants (mean age 52 y-old), 6082 (40.3%) had TTH (33% definite and 7.3% probable), 4411 (29.2%) had migraine (8.4% definite and 20.8% probable migraine), 140 (0.9%) had other headaches and 4460 (29.6%) reported no headache in the last 12 months. The highest odds ratios (OR) were for the associations between definite migraine with the respective variables: Age65 y-old (OR, 3.21; 95%confidence interval (95%CI), 2.20–4.69), female gender (OR, 12.87; (95%CI), 10.72–15.45) and active working status (OR, 3.01; (95%CI), 2.46–3.69). For migraine and TTH having a higher level of education (high school and/or college compared to elementary) was associated with increased OR, mostly definite TTH (OR for high school, 1.47; 95%CI, 1.26–1.71) and OR for college, 1.21; 95%CI: 1.06–1.39) and definite migraine (OR for college, 1.31; 95%CI, 1.04–1.66). While definite TTH was positively associated with higher income (OR for US$1245–3320: 1.14; 95%CI, 1.02–1.27 and OR for more than US$ 3320: 1.16; 95%CI, 1.00–1.34), definite migraine was inversely associated with income (OR for more than US$ 3320: 0.73; 95%CI, 0.58–0.91).


Our results suggest that primary headaches, particularly TTH, were more associated with high educational attainment. On the other hand, a high household income was inversely associated with migraine headaches.

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