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Does Low Blood Sugar Cause Headaches

Can You Explain Hyperglycemia And Hypoglycemia And Their Relationship With Headaches How Does Someone Know They Have This Condition Is It A Temporary Condition Or Do You Always Have It

Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia aren’t diseases themselves, but rather symptoms, or indicators of a health problem.

Dr. Patel was quoted as saying:“Hyperglycemia occurs when the body is not producing or using enough insulin, the hormone that absorbs glucose into cells to be used for energy.”

Again, this is typical in diabetics. Hypoglycemia is caused by very low blood glucose and is often associated with diabetes treatment. It can also very rarely be a side effect of medication, alcohol consumption, severe liver illnesses or hormone deficiencies.

Causes Of Lightheadedness May Be Dehydration Medication Side Effects Sudden Blood Pressure Drops Low Blood Sugar And Heart Disease Or Stroke

Feeling woozy, lightheaded, or a little faint is a common complaint among older adults. Although it’s not usually caused by anything life-threatening, it could be, so you need to be careful.

“Don’t ignore it. Even if the lightheadedness does not have a serious cause, it could lead to serious injuries from a fall. And at the worst, the cause may itself be life-threatening,” says Dr. Shamai Grossman, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School.

If you feel lightheaded and/or , Dr. Grossman recommends having a drink of water or orange juice and lying down. If symptoms last more than 15 minutes, he says it’s time to seek medical help in an urgent or emergency care setting. Even if symptoms are brief, and even if you think you know the cause, report the lightheadedness to your doctor.

Not All Headaches Will Be Related To Type 2 Diabetes But Some May Be Learn More About How You Can Manage Diabetes Headaches

February, 2021

There are lots of things that can cause you to have a headache. These can range from colds and fevers to being caused through an injury to the head. They’re one of the most common health issues we all experience one time or another.

A headache may sometimes be linked to a long-term condition. In diabetes, they might be a sign of low blood sugar levels . In some cases, a headache might be a symptom of a serious complication caused by high blood sugar levels .

If You Do Have A Headache In Relation To Sugar What Suggestions Do You Have For Relief

If you’re experiencing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels, and it’s not related to an illness like diabetes, symptoms can be treated by consuming 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates, or cabs easily converted sugar like gel, juice, soft drinks and sugary candy.

Dr. Patel was quoted as saying:“Hypoglycemic attacks mostly occur in diabetics. If you think you’re experiencing a hypoglycemic attack, you should go to the doctor immediately. Those with diabetes or hormone deficiencies should consult their physicians about long-term symptom relief plans, which generally include a structured diet.”

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When Headache From Eating Sugar Is Really Prodrome The First Phase Of Migraine

Does Low Blood Sugar Cause Headaches

What if the migraine attack was already set in motion before the sweet tooth was satisfied? What if there is no relationship between sugar and migraine for you?

Migraine has 4 distinct phases and understanding them helps to minimize the frequency and intensity of attacks.

In the first phase, prodrome, many people experience intense food cravings.  For some people, prodrome has them reaching for salty foods like potato or corn chips. For others it is probably best to not get between them and the Haagen Dazs ice cream or bag of gummy bears. BUT, prodrome is shortly followed by aura and the full attack phase of migraine. So, while there may be a notable pattern: sugar craving +overdoing it with sweets= migraine, the sugar may not be to blame. The attack was going to happen with or without the goodies… and darn! Those Oreos were good!

As with most aspects of getting migraine attacks under good control, it starts with educating yourself about the complexities of migraine and the human body. Then comes determining a strategy to find the right combination of interventions that work best.

As a registered dietitian passionate about helping people with migraine, I suggest limiting sugars and highly processed foods. This is good for overall wellness, attaining and maintaining a healthy weight and helping to reduce the burden of migraine.

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

medical review board.

  • 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. 

Are The Headaches Caused By Hypoglycemia Migraine Headaches

Headaches that are due to low blood sugar are not migraine headaches. You can usually figure this out if your headache goes away quickly when you have something to eat, especially if it’s high in sugar content, like a candy bar or orange juice. Headaches caused by hypoglycemia are quite common. If you have frequent headaches, hypoglycemia is an important cause to consider because the treatment for a hypoglycemia-caused headache is different from the treatment for a migraine headache. Unfortunately, many people in the United States who have frequent headaches never even see a doctor for them, may never receive the correct headache diagnosis, and then don’t get the appropriate medical treatment that they need.

Is Your Headache Due To Too Much Blood Sugaror Too Little

The of a blood sugar headache feels the same whether it’s triggered by too much blood glucose or too little. How can you tell the difference?

The best way to approach this is to review what you’ve eaten for the day. A headache caused by hypoglycemia often comes on suddenly, after not eating for an extended period of time. 

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

Conversely, a headache due to hyperglycemia can occur after eating a large meal that included lots of carbohydrates or sugar. In this case, you might initially feel very drowsy after eating, followed by a serious headache. Later, your blood sugar level might crash as the body produces large quantities of insulin to cope with the excessive amount of glucose in your blood. This can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes.  People who take insulin for should be particularly mindful of headaches, as they can signal excessive insulin levels in the bloodstream. If you develop a headache, check your blood glucose levels as soon as possible and respond accordingly.

Can Too Much Sugar Or Not Enough Sugar Cause Headaches

Both too much sugar and not enough sugar can cause headaches.

Dr. Patel was quoted as saying:“Sugar-related headaches come from a rapid swing in your blood sugar level. So it’s not actually the sugar itself that causes the headache, but the quick change in consumption. Glucose level fluctuations affect your brain more than any other organ.”

Sugar causes hormonal changes, specifically with epinephrine and norepinephrine. Those shifts change blood vessel behavior in the brain, causing a headache.

How To Treat Someone Who’s Unconscious Or Very Sleepy

Follow these steps:

  • Put the person in the recovery position and do not put anything in their mouth – so they do not choke.
  • If an injection of glucagon is available and you know how to use it, give it to them immediately.
  • If they wake up within 10 minutes of getting the injection and feel better, move on to step 5. If they do not improve within 10 minutes, call 999 for an ambulance.
  • If they’re fully awake and able to eat and drink safely, give them a carbohydrate snack.
  • They may need to go to hospital if they’re being sick , or their blood sugar level drops again.

    Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to lose consciousness.

    How And Why Diabetes Might Be Causing Your Headaches

    The cause of headaches in those of us with diabetes isn’t 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 aren’t in the ideal range that a healthy human body would prefer, your brain are going to notice.

    Here’s a deeper understanding of blood sugar levels and headaches:

    What Is The Relationship Between Sugar And Migraines

    Let’s be clear.  This does not mean that eating too much sugar will cause migraine.  In other words, neither is sugar a direct cause, nor could anyone get migraine disease by eating too much sugar.

    But if you’re a migrianeur, predisposed to migraine attacks, eating a lot of sugar – and here we’re talking about “poorly packages” sugars – could lead to more attacks, more symptoms.


    It could simply by that alarm that goes off when there are sudden changes in the body.  But for some people, it could be something more.

    For example, some have noticed a “cumulative effect”– eating sugars over two or three days, for example, may trigger an attack.

    Others have found that if they completely cut out refined sugars, they lessened or eliminated their migraine attacks after a time.

    There could be some complex reasons for this relationship.  We do know that glucose, insulin, and nitric oxide are closely related.  We’ve talked about glucose, and if you know anyone with diabetes you know a little about insulin.  But people with diabetes are also likely to have impaired nitric oxide pathways.  Problems with these pathways could lead to problems with insulin, and with blood sugar levels.

    A study in 2009 suggested that migraineurs are also more likely to have impaired nitric oxide pathways.

    This could be at least one other clue into why migraineurs may be more sensitive to refined sugars than most people.

    What have you tried?  Any success stories?

    How Do You Treat A Headache Caused By Hyperglycemia

    Low Blood Sugar Symptoms: Low Blood Sugar

    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 what’s been lost through urine. So, it’s 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!

    It’s 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.

    How To Treat Someone Who’s Having A Seizure Or Fit

    Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:

  • Stay with them and stop them hurting themselves – lie them down on something soft and move them away from anything dangerous .
  • After the seizure or fit stops, give them a sugary snack.
  • Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.

    How Do You Treat A Headache Caused By Hypoglycemia

    Headaches are a common symptom of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and can come on suddenly. 

    If you suspect that your headache is the result of low blood sugar, check your blood sugar to confirm that this is the case before attempting to treat your headache. 

    People with diabetes who have headaches when they wake up may be experiencing nocturnal hypoglycemia. If a blood sugar test indicates that you are experiencing a headache as a result of hypoglycemia, the American Diabetes Association recommends consuming 15 grams of simple carbohydrates or glucose and rechecking glucose levels after 15 minutes. If blood sugar is still too low, consume another 15g of carbs, being cautious not to consume too much. If you eat too much to treat low blood sugar, you may risk binging and end up chasing high blood sugar as a result. Using this method, the headache should subside once your blood sugar levels return to the normal range.

    If Your Headaches Are Unrelated To Your Diabetes

    And of course, if your headaches persist to an unmanageable level…you may be suffering from migraines which is really a different beast than your basic headache. There’s also a slew of other diagnosable health conditions unrelated to diabetes that can result in a headache.

    Don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare team if you think your headaches have become severe or are actually migraines.

    Whats The Link Between Diabetes And Hypoglycemia

    Hypoglycemia is most common, by far, in people with diabetes. Treatment for the diseaseoften involves taking medication to increase insulin. Hypoglycemia can develop if things like food, exercise and diabetes medications are out of balance.

    Common pitfalls for people with diabetes include:

    • Being more active than usual.
    • Drinking alcohol without eating.
    • Eating late or skipping meals.
    • Not balancing meals by including fat, protein and fiber.
    • Not eating enough carbohydrates.
    • Not timing insulin and carb intake correctly .

    Also, if someone with diabetes uses the wrong insulin, takes too much or injects it incorrectly, that can cause hypoglycemia.

    What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia

    Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.

    Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Giving You Headaches

    Are headaches and migraine attacks giving you hell? Find out if low blood sugar level is the mastermind behind them all.

    A reader sent in a comment for my article on 10 Grams Less Sugar, 10 Times More Sweetness in Life suggesting that my recurrent headache could be the result of low blood sugar. This note got me interested in the link between the two and to find out the possible trigger since I don’t have diabetes and hence do not take any insulin-elevating drugs that may cause low blood glucose level.

    In this article, I will share with you some of my personal findings, which I must highlight are not an exhaustive discussion on headache and the condition of having low blood sugar — both of which can have an unimaginable number of causes. And like the other articles on this website, this post is a work-in-progress and will be updated as and when I’ve gathered more information.

    Other Common Migraine Triggers In Sugary Foods

    Sometimes people may erroneously assume the triggering factor in their food choice was sugar. When it was actually something else in the sweet treat.  Sugary foods are often combined with other ingredients that are considered common migraine triggers such as nuts, chocolate, food colorings and certain dried foods.

    Determining migraine foods triggers can be very tricky especially when you have frequent attacks. From observation, some people have a handful of common foods that are triggering. So, eliminating one food at a time often does not yield results. For example, they may avoid chocolate while continuing the eat nuts and protein bars while being sensitive to all three foods.  It can be quite frustrating especially since many well-meaning “experts” suggest avoiding suspected foods one at a time.

    How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself

    Headaches And High Blood Sugar Levels Medications ...

    Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 4mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:

  • Have a sugary drink or snack – like a small glass of fizzy drink or fruit juice, a small handful of sweets, 3 or 6 glucose tablets or 1 to 2 tubes of glucose gel.
  • Test your blood sugar after 10 to 15 minutes – if it’s improved and you feel better, move on to step 3. If there’s little or no change, treat again with a sugary drink or snack and take another reading after 10 to 15 minutes.
  • You may need to eat your main meal if it’s the right time to have it. Or, have a snack that contains a slow-release carbohydrate, such as a slice of bread or toast, a couple of biscuits, or a glass of cows’ milk.
  • You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.

    But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.

    Reduce The Frequency Of Your Low Blood Sugars

    For people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who take insulin and other medications that lower blood sugar levels, low blood sugars are something we’ll always have to deal with.

    First of all, make sure you are treating low blood sugars with fast-acting carbohydrate food items that don’t contain a great deal of protein or fat. The protein and fat slow down the digestion and absorption of the glucose, which means your blood sugar will drop further and stay low longer.

    Regardless, if lows are happening frequently, that means your medications are definitely in need of some fine-tuning.

    For patients with type 2 diabetes, it’s not uncommon for doctors to prescribe a set insulin dose for all your meals without teaching you how to count carbohydrates and make sure your insulin matches what you’re eating.

    For anyone taking insulin, remember that our insulin needs change throughout our life. If you lose 10 pounds or suddenly stop eating dessert, your insulin needs may decrease. If you don’t adjust your doses, you’ll start experiencing a lot of low blood sugars!

    And exercise — which can be incredibly challenging if you take insulin — has plenty of logic to learn around it, too. Don’t accept frequent hypoglycemia as an inevitable part of exercising with diabetes. You can prevent those lows by learning more about how different types of exercise impact your blood sugars.

    Getting Peace Of Mind: Diabetes And Headaches

    When Pandora opened her box, she released, amongst other things, Algos – Pain. An evil spirit, the Ancient Greeks believed that Algos was the cause of headaches.

    And certainly, having a headache does feel like having an evil spirit hammering away inside your head. Ow. It hurts thinking about it.

    It affects many: WHO estimates that about 50% of the world’s population will have experienced a headache within the last year.

    With diabetes and headaches in particular, headaches can occur as a result of conditions associated with diabetes, including both hypo- and hyperglycemia, along with other circumstances.

    Heads up: we’re going to turn the topic of diabetes and headaches on its head. Keep a level head by finding out why headaches happen with diabetes, and how to treat them!

    Does Everyone Have Symptoms From Hypoglycemia

    Some people don’t have symptoms or don’t notice them. Healthcare providers call that situation hypoglycemia unawareness. People with such a challenge aren’t aware when they need to do something about their blood sugar. They’re then more likely to have severe episodes and need medical help. People with hypoglycemia unawareness should check their blood sugar more often.

    How Can I Be Better Prepared For Hypoglycemia

    You can take some steps to be ready for hypoglycemia:

    • Be aware of the symptoms and treat them early.
    • Carry some fast-acting carbs with you all the time.
    • Check your glucose levels frequently, especially around meals and exercise.
    • Inform family, friends and co-workers so they know what do if you need help.
    • Talk to your healthcare provider regularly to make and update your plan.
    • Wear a medical bracelet that lets people know you have diabetes. Carry a card in your purse or wallet with instructions for hypoglycemia.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Hypoglycemia is quite common in people with diabetes. If not treated, it can cause troubling symptoms, and even serious health problems. Fortunately, you can avoid hypoglycemic episodes by monitoring your blood sugar. You can also make small adjustments to eating and exercising routines.

    How Low Blood Sugar Level Can Cause Headache

    Whenever we feast on cookies, soft drinks , candies and other high-sugar content foods, our blood glucose level will increase sharply within a short time. This sends the pancreas into a frantic mode as it tries to lower the blood sugar to a decent level by releasing large amounts of insulin. The flash flood of insulin will in turn drive the blood sugar level down as quickly as it has climbed. The dramatic increase and fall in sugar level can have a number of possible side effects, one of which is headache or migraine attack.

    When our blood sugar level swings wildly, it can adversely affect the regulation of other hormones such as adrenaline.As the level of adrenaline affects the contraction of blood vessels, a sudden drop in blood sugars may cause the arteries in the head to spasm in susceptible individuals. This is then felt as pain which is commonly known as headache.

    Preventing Migraines Caused By Hypoglycemia

    It seems self-evident, but the best way to prevent hypoglycemia and the attendant migraine is to eat regular, healthy meals. If you are diabetic, follow your dietary and medical management plan established by your physician and nutritionist.

    • Avoid hidden sugars in packaged foods. Read the label.
    • Train your brain to stop craving sugar by eating complex carbohydrates that are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
    • Eat more vegetables and fruit than pasta, bread, or chips.

    Smaller, more frequent meals can help keep glucose levels steady throughout the day. At any rate, do not go more than three hours without eating while you are awake. Make sure to consume a diet balanced in protein, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber. Limit sugary foods and alcohol, especially if your stomach is empty.

    Get plenty of exercise, too. Physical exertion helps your body use glucose more efficiently and effectively.

    Hypoglycemia has been found to be a cause of migraines in those susceptible to the condition. It can be caused by irregular eating habits or by ingesting too much sugar. If a migraine occurs, it may be treatable by increasing your blood glucose. Prevent migraines by eating a regular, healthy diet.

    If you are concerned you suffer from hypoglycemia or diabetes, consult your primary care physician immediately for a diagnosis and proper treatment.

    The Connection Between Sugar And Headaches

    The body requires glucose to manage virtually every vital function. The body converts the carbohydrates and sugars you eat into glucose, which provides energy to the cells to carry out their tasks. Some cells and organs also use other types of fuel, such as fat, but the brain powers itself exclusively on glucose. 

    If your blood glucose level becomes too high or too low, it can affect certain hormones that cause the blood vessels in your brain to constrict or dilate and cause a headache. You can think of a sugar headache as the brain’s warning signal that something is amiss with your blood sugar level.


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