Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Headaches To Begin With
A very conservative estimate suggests that 22% of all headaches seem to be related to fasting or dropping blood sugar. Low blood sugar headache can be induced by prolonged periods of non eating or by skipping meals. In real life hypoglycemia-related headache can be started by several commonly encountered circumstances like
Each and every one of the above circumstances can potentially start a headache in a susceptible, but totally unsuspecting individual.
Howto Avoid Sugar Highs And Lows
“There is no special diet for headaches,” Dr. Doerrler says. “You need a balanced diet. Avoid simple carbs and get some calories from fats and proteins along with vegetable, fruits and whole grains.”
- If you aredieting, lose weight slowly. Avoid crash diets.
- Eat smaller morefrequent meals instead of a few big meals.
- Don’t exercise onan empty stomach.
- Avoid drinkingalcohol on an empty stomach.
- If you feel ahunger headache coming on, have a small sugar snack, followed by a nourishing,well-balanced meal.
If you have frequent headaches and other symptoms of hypoglycemia, talk to your doctor. You can also get some advice on how to balance your diet and choose healthy carbs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can start quickly, with people experiencing them in different ways. The signs of hypoglycemia are unpleasant. But they provide good warnings that you should take action before blood sugar drops more. The signs include:
- Shaking or trembling.
- Tingling or numbness in the face or mouth.
During a severe hypoglycemic event, a person may:
- Be unable to eat or drink.
- Have a seizure or convulsions .
- Lose consciousness.
- Slip into a coma or die .
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How To Keep Low
Test your blood glucose level. There are many possible causes of headaches. To check whether yours is caused by low blood sugar, the best way is to get a test. You can get a reading of your blood glucose level either through your family physician or with an inexpensive blood glucose meter.
Avoid foods with high glycemic load. These foods are converted into glucose quickly and will spike the blood sugar quickly. Glycemic load is a better gauge than glycemic index of the impact of a particular food on blood glucose level as it takes into consideration the amount of carbohydrate. If you are trying to maintain a stable blood sugar level, avoid foods with glycemic load values above 19. You can find a pretty comprehensive list of foods with their glycemic load values here.
Choose complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits and whole grains have lower glycemic load compared to highly processed white flour based products and sugars. That means, they will break down more slowly and release glucose more gradually and steadily into the bloodstream.
What other ways do you use to prevent low blood sugar level from giving you headaches? Share with us in the comments. Thanks!
Overdose Of Diabetes Medication
A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin for your current needs. Insulin is a medication that helps control your blood glucose levels. It’s commonly used to treat type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for some people with type 2 diabetes.
A fall in blood glucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, such as sulphonylurea, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
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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.
Does Everyone Have Symptoms From Hypoglycemia
Some people dont have symptoms or dont notice them. Healthcare providers call that situation hypoglycemia unawareness. People with such a challenge arent aware when they need to do something about their blood sugar. Theyre then more likely to have severe episodes and need medical help. People with hypoglycemia unawareness should check their blood sugar more often.
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Best Blood Sugar Testing Machine
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Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Headaches
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:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
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How Does The Body Maintain Blood Sugar
Glucose is our bodys main source of energy and it is obtained by breaking down the foods we eat mainly from carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.
When glucose is absorbed by the blood, a type of hormone called insulin is produced by the pancreas to tell cells in other parts of the body to use the blood sugar for energy. Excess glucose that are not used immediately will be converted into glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles as backup energy reserve. In normal circumstances, when blood sugar is being used up or stored, insulin production will reduce and/or stop.
In between meals when we are not eating, our blood sugar level will drop gradually over time. When it falls beyond a certain level, the pancreas will get to work again. This time, it will produce another type of hormone called glucagon in an attempt to return the blood sugar level to normal. It accomplishes this task by telling the liver to release its backup energy reserve and convert glycogen into glucose for fuel. Glucagon also activates the release of insulin, so that the fresh dose of glucose will be put to good use.
As you can see, insulin and glucagon work hand in hand to ensure that the level of glucose in our body remains steady and balanced. When they are working properly, we will feel physically strong and mentally alert and stable.
Treating Headaches From Hypoglycemia
The first step in treating a hypoglycemia-induced headache is confirming that the pain is due to low blood glucose. A blood glucose test can check this.
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 American Diabetes Association recommends 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, symptoms, including headache pain, should reduce.
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S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.
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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 youre 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 thats 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.
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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Symptoms Of Mild Low Blood Sugar
You may have these symptoms when your blood sugar has dropped below 70 milligrams per deciliter . When you have had diabetes for many years, you may not always develop symptoms of mild low blood sugar.
Some young children with diabetes cannot recognize symptoms of low blood sugar. Others can, but not every time. To be safe, the parents need to do a home blood sugar test whenever they suspect low blood sugar in a child.
Symptoms may include:
- Sweating . Check for sweating on the back of your neck at your hairline.
- Nervousness, shakiness, and weakness.
- Extreme hunger and slight nausea.
- Dizziness and headache.
- A fast heartbeat and feeling anxious.
These symptoms may go away shortly after you eat food that contains sugar.
Sugarheadache And Hunger Headache
Reactive hypoglycemia is not the only sugar-related cause of headaches. Another type of low-sugar headache is what’s sometimes called a hunger headache, according to the National Headache Foundation. Your blood sugar can fall if you go too long between meals, exercise without eating or put yourself on too strict of a diet. Sleeping too late in the morning can also make you go too long between meals.
The type of carbs you eat is also important, the foundation notes. Simple carbs are foods or drinks with added sugar, as well as foods like baked goods and white bread or pasta. These foods are loaded with carbs that are easy and quick to absorb. That can lead to a rush of glucose, followed by a surge in insulin and a headache.
Complex carbs are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These more natural foods are digested more slowly and may help you avoid the high glucose surge and headaches.
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A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
For more information, see:
Why Not Painkillers
Most people stick to painkillers, because they do not know what else to do. Yet, painkillers do not seem to be the best solution for many headache sufferers. Even headache sufferers themselves state so.
9 out of 10 people think painkillers take too long to start acting, do not relieve all the pain, and sometimes do not even work at all. Besides, like all the drugs, painkillers cause side effects whether they be short-, or long-term.
The biggest problem with the painkillers however, is not their slowness and unreliability, but their inability to prevent headache recurrence. Besides their unreliability, painkillers such as diclophenac have been shown to be devastating to the environment. An entire population of vouchers has been erased in India after it fed on cattle treated with diclophenac. The anti-environment side of medication is one of the reason why you MUST find out the reason for your pain, treat the underlying causes and prevent its recurrence.
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What Can You Do
If you have a headache, either by itself or combined with other typical symptoms of hyperglycemia, check your blood glucose. You may find that the higher your blood glucose, the worse the headache. Drinking water to lessen the chance of dehydration is important, and depending on how high your blood sugar is or if you have ketones in your urine, doing some physical activity can help to lower your blood sugar level. To lessen the frequency of hyperglycemia, follow your diabetes treatment plan as closely as possible. Talk with your health-care provider if your blood sugars are still high despite taking your medicines as directed, as you may need a change in your dose or an additional medicine.
Food And Eating Habits
Despite the constant recommendations to eat healthfully when you have diabetes, its not necessarily easy to change your eating habits. No one is perfect! But when it comes to your food choices or how and when you eat, its worthwhile to focus on a) trying to get into an eating routine and b) making healthful food decisions most of the time. Youll reap a host of benefits by doing so, including more stable blood glucose levels, reaching and staying at a healthy weight, a lower risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, and, yes, fewer headaches. What and how you eat can be directly responsible for headaches, especially migraines. Typical triggers for migraines include:
Too much or too little caffeine Alcohol, especially red wine, whiskey, Scotch, and champagne Aged cheeses Nitrates and nitrites, found in cold cuts, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon Monosodium glutamate Foods or drinks containing aspartame, a nonnutritive sweetener Citrus fruits
Other culprits: skipping or delaying meals, and not drinking enough fluids.
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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:
When Blood Sugar Is Too High Symptoms
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How To Get Relief
If you get a headache from diabetes, it is important to first check and treat blood sugar imbalances. If head pain persists, over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can provide relief. People who have kidney problems should not take ibuprofen unless directed by their medical provider.
In addition to OTC pain medication, headaches may respond to home care such as:
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:
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Treating Headaches From Hyperglycemia
To relieve a headache from high blood glucose levels, a person can:
- drink fluids to increase hydration
- take insulin or other medications as agreed with their doctor
People with ketones in their urine should not exercise and seek emergency medical help. Exercising at this time could unintentionally increase blood sugar levels.
Other ways to prevent hyperglycemia headaches are by:
- maintaining a moderate weight
- following a nutritious and balanced diet
- taking any medications as the doctor recommends