Raising awareness in general practitioner and general neurology practice

Anne Christine Poole | Jun 2020 | Fastleger | Psykiatri / Neurologi |

Anne Christine Poole
General Practitioner and
Headache Specialist at
the Volvat Medical Center,
Norway

Anne Christine Poole passionately made an argument for raising awareness in the general practitioner (GP) and general neurology practice, in order to deliver the comprehensive and effective care that migraine patients need. For many patients that suffer from migraine, the disease is seriously disabling and can be extremely painful. Asa consequence, a large number of patients with migraine don’t have the same opportunities in life as others have. Every year, migraine causes millions of days lost from work and school. Underdiagnosed Migraine is underdiagnosed: only an estimated 30-50% of patients with migraine are diagnosed with the disease.1 Moreover, many patients are misdiagnosed with e.g. tension-typeheadache. Dr Faisal Amin from the Danish Headache Center investigated how many GPs and neurologists were able to correctly diagnose 2 cases of migraine without aura (see Boxes). Out of 314 GPs and neurologists from 5 different countries, only 26 (<9%) were able to correctly diagnose these cases.2 It raises the question why migraine is so heavily underdiagnosed. Anne Christine Poole thinks this is on the one hand because patients don’t discuss their headache with their doctor, thinking they are not interested. On the other hand, there is the problem that many GPs don’t have enough time to properly diagnose and treat headache patients. And also, general neurologists are often not headache specialists. Education A study by Hirtz et al. showed that the prevalence of migraine (12.1%) alone is higher than the combined prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (6.7%), stroke (1%), Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease (0.96%), epilepsy (0.71%) and multiple sclerosis (0.09%).3 Given the relatively low number of patients who are correctly diagnosed with migraine, there is a big opportunity to improve treatment of the disease. Creating awareness among GPs and neurologists is key to fill this gap. Increasing awareness is done through education. GPs and neurologists need to...