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Who Is Affected by Cluster Headaches

Unlike many other types of headaches, cluster headaches are more common in men than in women. These headaches are rare in children younger than age 10. Cluster headaches are not common. About 4 out of 1,000 people suffer from them.1

This type of headache may be genetic, because your risk of getting cluster headaches is higher if you have a parent or sibling who has the condition. Cluster headaches usually start when you are in your 30s and 40s. But many men have cluster headache cycles while they are still in their 20s.

About 9 out of 10 people with cluster headaches get them only occasionally (episodic). One person out of 10 has chronic cluster headaches.2 Chronic cluster headaches are defined as headache cycles that happen one after another for longer than 1 year without stopping (being in remission) at all or only stopping for less than a month before a new headache starts.3

Citations

  1. Evans RW (2003). Headaches. In Saunders Manual of Neurologic Practice, pp. 25–32. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  2. Evans RW (2009). Headache. In EG Nabel, ed., ACP Medicine, section 11, chap. 8. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.
  3. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society (2004). International classification of headache disorders: 2nd ed. Cephalalgia, 24(Suppl 1): 9–160.
By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Revised January 27, 2012

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