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Does High Blood Sugar Cause Headaches

What Are The Complications Of Diabetes

Healthy Eating & Living : Does High Blood Pressure Cause Bad Headaches?

If your blood glucose level remains high over a long period of time, your bodys tissues and organs can be seriously damaged. Some complications can be life-threatening over time.

Complications include:

  • Dental problems.

Complications of gestational diabetes:

In the mother:Preeclampsia , risk of gestational diabetes during future pregnancies and risk of diabetes later in life.

In the newborn: Higher-than-normal birth weight, low blood sugar , higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over time and death shortly after birth.

Treating Headaches From Hypoglycemia

The first step in treating a hypoglycemia-induced headache is to confirm that the pain is occurring due to low blood glucose. A blood glucose test can verify this issue.

Taking a blood glucose test is especially important for people with diabetes who wake up with a headache in the morning, as it can be a sign of nocturnal hypoglycemia.

The ADA recommend that people with low blood sugar consume 15 grams of simple carbohydrates or glucose before rechecking levels after 15 minutes.

Once blood sugar returns to the target range, the headache pain should reduce.

Sugar Can Cause Headaches And It’s More Likely If You Have Diabetes

  • Eating too much or too little sugar can trigger a headache.
  • This is because sugar consumption affects blood sugar levels, and can lead to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, which both include symptoms like headaches.
  • Sugar headaches are more common for people with diabetes, as they have more difficulty regulating blood sugar levels.

There are many different types of headaches, and your diet can play a role in how often you get them. In fact, your sugar consumption may be an important factor, especially if you have diabetes, as abnormal blood sugar levels are known to trigger headaches.

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First Up How To Tell If Its A Diabetes

When youre not staying on top of your diabetes, it can cause your blood sugar to drop too low or climb too high. Both of these problems are triggers for headaches. Having a headache itself isnt harmful, but it could be a sign that your blood sugar isnt where it should be.

How exactly do blood sugar levels lead to head pain, though? Lets take a closer look at the culprits.

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, happens when your blood glucose levels drop below where they need to be. It can happen if you skip a meal or if you inject too much insulin.

Its also possible for your blood glucose to dip if you eat something with too many carbs, since the sudden spike in blood sugar can lead to an unhealthy drop after the body tries to compensate.

Usually hypoglycemia-related headaches come on quickly as your blood sugar takes a nosedive. Basically, the brain needs a steady supply of glucose to function. If you dont have enough glucose in your bloodstream to give the brain what it needs, you can end up with a throbbing headache.

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, may occur when your blood glucose levels get too high usually at least over 180 mg/dL or 10 mmol/L.

If you have diabetes and are insulin-resistant or arent producing or injecting enough insulin, the glucose from your food cant be absorbed by your cells for energy. That causes the glucose to build up in your bloodstream, which then leads to high blood sugar.

High Blood Sugar Facts

Diabetes and headaches: What
  • Low high blood sugar is abnormally high blood levels of insulin in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of it. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome .
  • The primary symptom of hyperglycemia is excessive amounts of sugar in the urine. Other symptoms and signs of high blood sugar levels in the blood are blurred vision, hunger , and headaches.
  • Other conditions that can cause high blood sugar are pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses.
  • Insulin is the treatment for people with type 1 diabetes, and life-threatening increases in glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications. Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for the elevated glucose.

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Of Course There Are Apps For That

In many cases, the cause of your headaches can be easily explained by factors such as changes in blood glucose levels, lack of quality sleep, or missing your morning coffee. But headaches that continue despite making lifestyle changes should always be brought to the attention of your doctor. He or she may refer you to a headache specialist. You can also keep tabs on your headaches by using an app. App suggestions include:

Want to learn more about the relationship between diabetes and headaches? Read Diabetes and Headaches: Soothing That Aching Head.

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.

How Does High Blood Sugar Affect The Body

High sugar in the blood can lead to a number of other symptoms and complications. Here are just a few.

Urination and thirst: High blood sugar goes into the kidneys and urine. This attracts more water, causing frequent urination. This can also lead to increased thirst, despite drinking enough liquids.

Weight loss: High blood sugar can cause sudden or unexplained weight loss. This occurs because the bodys cells are not getting the glucose they need, so the body burns muscle and fat for energy instead.

Numbness and tingling: High blood sugar can also cause numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands, legs, and feet. This is due to diabetic neuropathy, a complication of diabetes that often occurs after many years of high blood sugar levels.

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How And Why Diabetes Might Be Causing Your Headaches

The cause of headaches in those of us with diabetes isnt really much of a mystery. Your blood sugar levels feed and fuel your brain. In fact, your brain relies on a second-by-second delivery of glucose in order to function.

When your blood sugars arent in the ideal range that a healthy human body would prefer, your brain are going to notice.

Heres a deeper understanding of blood sugar levels and headaches:

Why Does Sugar Trigger An Attack

Diabetes and Headaches: Yes, They Are Related

Your body needs a certain amount of sugar to operate, and when you consume sugar it causes your blood glucose levels to fluctuate. Your brain needs a consistent flow of glucose, and when it doesnt receive enough or gets too much, it responds negatively. This negative response triggers a headache or migraine.

Too high or too low is not good. If your blood sugar is too high, you have Hyperglycemia. This is a medical condition where your body is unable to break down glucose with insulin, so your blood sugar rises . Symptoms that occur with hyperglycemia include frequent need to urinate, extreme thirst, blurry vision, or fatigue.

Too low and you have a medical condition called Hypoglycemia. Your blood sugar can dip . You can experience hypoglycemia if you skip meals or only eat simple sugars, such as white sugar. Symptoms that accompany hypoglycemia include lightheadedness, weakness, pale skin, hunger, anxiety, dizziness, or sweating.

Either one of these conditions can cause headaches and migraine.

So does sugar cause migraine headaches? It sure can. Too much or too little! Fasting, eating processed or high-sugar foods, dieting too rigorously, and skipping meals can all trigger an attack. Even delayed or irregular meals can make a difference because of your blood-glucose levels falling too low.

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Can High Blood Sugar Cause Headaches

meredithe1475167091 over a year ago

over a year ago

Hi Meredithe,

First headaches are one of the symptoms of diabetes, type 1and type 2. However not everybody with the diabetes is having headaches. Theheadaches might be different if the blood sugar is low or if the blood sugar ishigh.

I dont think that headaches are much different from otherheadaches. You can only experience dizziness if you blood sugar is out ofnormal. You also have to know that headaches might cause even nausea andvomiting. Blurred vision can also be one of the symptoms in diabetes that canbe accompanied with headaches.

If you are experiencing headaches often then you shouldconsult your doctor about the insulin that you are using. You might need tochange your therapy.

Warning Signs Of Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia can cause both short- and long-term complications. Know the signs so that you can treat the condition as soon as you’re aware of it.

As a person living with diabetes, you know how important it is to reduce blood sugar when it is too high, a phenomenon called hyperglycemia. But blood sugar that is too low, or hypoglycemia, is equally critical to avoid.

Hypoglycemia happens when the amount of blood glucose drops to a level that’s too low to sustain normal functioning,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, who is based in Sparta, New Jersey. “In most people, this is defined as a blood sugar level at or below 70 milligrams per deciliter .”

Hypoglycemia is common among people with type 2 diabetes, according to a review published in June 2015 in the journal PLoS One. Individuals with the condition had an average of 19 mild or moderate episodes of hypoglycemia per year and nearly one severe episode per year on average, according to the researchers. Low blood sugar was particularly common among those taking insulin.

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This decrease in blood sugar levels can cause both short-term complications, like confusion and dizziness, as well as more serious issues, including seizures, coma, and, rarely, death, according to the American Diabetes Association .

Hypoglycemia is usually the result of a too-high dose of insulin or a change in diet or exercise habits, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

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To Avoid A Sugar Headache People Can Try The Following According To Medical News Today:

Eat regular, nutritious meals.Choose unprocessed complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.Follow your doctors instructions to manage your diabetes if you have it.Exercising regularly and doing moderate physical activity daily.Limit consumption of soft drinks, sweets, and other foods that contain added sugar.Other ways to prevent headaches include:

Moisturizing the body. Drinking plenty of water prevents dehydration, which may exacerbate the headache problem from sugars.

Get enough sleep. Sleeping too much or too little can also lead to headaches, so it is important to get adequate rest.

Reduce stress. Yoga, relaxation and other forms of exercise may help reduce stress and tension that aggravate headaches.

Keep a diary. Recording headaches and their possible causes can help identify and avoid future triggers.

The doctor can also work with the individual to find the cause of the headache and develop a plan to manage and treat it and treat the underlying problems.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes and headaches: What

Signs of high blood sugar levels include:

  • Peeing a lot: The kidneys respond by flushing out the extra glucose in urine. People with high blood sugar need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
  • Drinking a lot: Someone losing so much fluid from peeing that often can get very thirsty.
  • Losing weight even though your appetite has stayed the same: If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body breaks down muscle and stored fat instead in an attempt to provide fuel to hungry cells.
  • Feeling tired: Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, a person may feel unusually tired.
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What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be

When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.

You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.

Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.

Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:

  • if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
  • if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol

The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.

How Do You Treat A Headache Caused By Hyperglycemia

One key to treating and preventing headaches caused by high blood sugar levels, i.e. hyperglycemia, is to lower your blood sugar back down to normal levels.

The two easiest ways to lower blood sugar right now are to drink water and exercise.

Drinking water can help flush out excess glucose, not to mention that staying hydrated is a key part of overall diabetes care. On that note, hyperglycemic headaches can often be caused by dehydration that results from the body trying to flush that excess glucose without receiving more water to make up for whats been lost through urine. So, its no wonder that drinking water during a hyperglycemic headache can make a huge difference in a short amount of time!

Exercise as minimal as a brisk walk after lunch is another quick way to encourage the body to turn glucose into energy and lower blood glucose levels. This is especially helpful for those with type 2 diabetes as the physical activity can help increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar in that way as well!

Its important to note that exercise may not be safe for people with type 1 diabetes in certain situations. If you have type 1 diabetes, make sure to check your urine for ketones before exercising. If you have ketones in your urine, you should not exercise and should contact your doctor immediately, as exercising could unintentionally increase your blood sugar levels.

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Does Sugar Cause Migraine Headaches For You

The only way to find out for sure is to experiment and see what happens, but be sure to keep a journal. If you’d like more help, there is a food experiment journal in my course – Migraine Pain Management Course


Angela Stanton Ph.D., author of The Migraine Epidemic, suggests testing 1/2 cup of blueberries first to see if that triggers an attack. Then she suggests testing 1/2 a baked potato and then a whole baked potato. Keep a journal, monitor your results. Test it once to see and then test 2 days in a row, then test 3 days in a row.

But wait a week or so in between testing.

Until next time, be well and be pain free.



There’s an 8 week food experiment in my Migraine Pain Management Course. The first module is free… continue reading

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What Do Sugar Headaches Feel Like

Does Sugar Cause Diabetes? Fact vs Fiction

For the most part, sugar headaches feel like normal headaches. There are a few clues, however, that can help you identify if its a sugar headache or not.

  • Hyperglycemia headaches, for example, dont show up right away. Usually, people hang out with high blood sugar for a few days before the body starts putting out pain signals.
  • Hypoglycemia headaches appear more swiftly and are often accompanied by other fun symptoms, such as dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.

If you have recurring sugar headaches, you may want to schedule a doctors appointment. Consistently irregular blood sugar levels could be a sign of diabetes, which can be fatal if untreated.

In very rare cases, consistent sugar headaches are a sign of ketoacidosis, a complication most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes. In a nutshell ketoacidosis occurs when someone has high blood sugar and high ketone levels at the same time .

Odds are your sugar headaches are just the result of an off day of eating. If you keep an eye on your symptoms and eating habits, you should be able to kick those headaches to the curb.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

Each person’s reaction to low blood sugar is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Feeling shaky
  • Color draining from the skin
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Feeling weak or having no energy
  • Blurred/impaired vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue or cheeks
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep
  • Seizures

The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.

A low blood sugar level triggers the release of epinephrine , the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine is what can cause the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as thumping heart, sweating, tingling and anxiety.

If the blood sugar level continues to drop, the brain does not get enough glucose and stops functioning as it should. This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood sugar stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma and very rarely death.


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