Background: Headache is one of the most common symptoms in the clinical practice. It has been reported that physical or psychological stressful environments are determinant risk factors for headache disorders. Because many pilots are exposed to these risk factors, they may have been suffered from headache burden. However, few studies on the prevalence and the burden of headache in pilots were performed until now. Methods: Data were collected by interviewing 86 pilots. This was a cross-sectional study using a semi-structured interview with a quality-of-life scale (WHOQOL- BREF), and questionnaires to measure headache burden (HIT-6). Results: 54 of studied pilots (62.8%) experienced headache episode during the life time. Three months prevalence was 25.6%. Twenty-one (24.4%) pilots reported past medical history except headache. 17 (73.9%) pilots of those having headache episodes within previous 3 months were diagnosed with primary headache. Two (2.3%) were diagnosed with airplane headache. Only alcohol intake times per week was associated with headache in pilots (P=0.047). Although most pilots with headache reported “a little” or “none” degree in the HIT-6, they showed lower WHOQOL- BREF score than no current headache group. Only 2 (9.1%) pilots sought medical assistance during headache episodes. Conclusion: This is the first study on the prevalence and the impact of headache in ROKAF pilots. Although headache was more frequent disease than other medical problems in pilots, headache disorders were undertreated in pilots. Regarding to a special occupation of pilots, the burden of headache disorders in pilots was not low. Further research will be needed to determine the exact prevalence and impact of headache on social functions in pilots.
Burden of illness,Quality of life,Prevalence,Air force personnel,Aviation,Headache