An epidemiological investigation into primary headaches in an adolescent population in public high schools in the Westville Ward of the Pinetown School District
Crestani, Melissa Maria Alessandra
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AIM: The aim of the study is to determine the epidemiology of adolescents attending public high schools, in the Westville ward of the Pinetown School District, who present with a history of primary headaches. SUBJECTS: Adolescents between 14 and 19 years of age currently attending a public high school in the Westville Ward of the Pinetown School District. METHODOLOGY: Upon approval from the Department of Education (DoE) and principals of participating public high schools, an appropriate time-slot was identified in which the post-pilot questionnaire and letters of information and informed consent could be delivered to the scholars via the researcher. One class from Grade nine, Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12, in each school, was randomly selected by a blind draw to participate in the study. A total of 460 completed informed consent and post-pilot questionnaires were collected and placed in separate sealed ballot boxes. All sealed ballot boxes were collected by the researcher. All post-pilot questionnaires were kept confidential and only seen by the researcher and supervisor. A code was allocated to each questionnaire before data was captured on a spreadsheet for data analysis by the chosen statistician. RESULTS: In total 460 questionnaires were utilised for statistical analysis. The results showed a high prevalence of Migraine-type headache (MTH) (17.2%) and Tension-type headache (TTH) (27.6%). However, no scholars were diagnosed with a Cluster-type headache (CTH). The majority of scholars (63.8%) did not seek medical attention or advice for their headaches. A history of experiencing headaches (p=<001), participation in sport (p=0.008), difficulty sleeping (p=<0.001) and sleep bruxism (p=0.007) were the only significant risk factors noted as statistically significant in this study. CONCLUSION: This study is consistent with previous studies on the high prevalence of primary headaches in an adolescent population. Primary headaches negatively affect the daily activities of adolescents; however, majority of adolescents do not seek medical attention or advice for their headaches.