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.
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 worlds 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: were 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!
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.
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Stages Of Low Blood Sugar
You will notice certain signs when your blood sugar begins to drop. These signs arise in stages, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Each stage is characterized by a specific set of symptoms.
Nausea is one of the signs that occur in the mild stage, but it can also be present in later stages. Many organizations like the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases combine the mild and moderate stages into one.
Other signs of mild to moderate low blood sugar include:
- Blurred vision
Signs of severe low blood sugar include:
- Unable to eat or drink
- Seizures or convulsions
Symptoms of hypoglycemia during sleep include:
- Crying out or having nightmares
- Sweating enough to make your pajamas or sheets damp
- Feeling tired, irritable, or confused after waking up
Low Blood Sugar Affects Mental Functions
You have probably experienced times when you were so hungry that you couldnt think straight. This is not a mere coincidence. Glucose also happens to be the primary source of energy for the brain. The more you are required to think, analyze or solve problems, the more glucose your brain will need to work optimally.
It is then not surprising that the level of glucose available to the brain affects our mental functions. If we do not have enough glucose to fuel the brain, work that require mental effort such as will be greatly affected.
Do you know that low blood sugar level does not just trigger bad headaches? It may also cause irritability, anxiety, shakiness, confusion and heart palpitations, symptoms that resemble that of anxiety attack. If you have had episodes of panic attacks, it may be worthwhile to make sure your sugar levels are not responsible for them.
Although glucose is an important source of fuel for the body and the brain, as we have seen, it is not a good idea to consume high sugar foods in one go. How then should we eat to ensure that our blood sugar level remains steady and balanced? That is what we will discuss next.
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How Does Hyperglycemia Cause Headaches
As noted above, hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels, can cause headaches. People who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes or who struggle to manage their blood sugar levels can commonly experience hyperglycemia, which can be dangerous if not addressed.
High blood sugar commonly occurs when an individual does not have enough insulin in their system to cover the carbohydrates eaten to keep their blood sugar normalized. When blood sugar levels are too high, damage to the blood vessels and nerves can occur. If the body is unable to use the glucose in the blood for energy, it starts to burn fat instead, which can cause a buildup of waste products called ketones. This buildup can lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which can warrant a trip to the emergency room.
Most people do not experience symptoms of hyperglycemia until their blood sugar is over 200 mg/dL, and symptoms, including headaches, may be slow to appear.
Headaches can take several days to develop and are considered a sign of hyperglycemia. If you are experiencing a headache caused by hyperglycemia, it may be a signal that your blood sugar levels are too high.
Other symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
Slow healing wounds
High Or Low Blood Sugar
Nausea is a symptom of both high and low blood sugar, so it is important to check your levels at home with your glucometer before deciding on your next steps. If you are experiencing blood glucose highs and lows regularly or more frequently than usual, tell your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause and a plan of action to keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range.
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Parents Of Children With Diabetes
If your child has diabetes and shows symptoms of hypoglycemia, it’s important to check their blood glucose level with a glucometer. If this is not possible, it is best to treat them as if they have hypoglycemia by giving them carbohydrates to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Your child should have a safety plan in place for when they are not in your care, such as when they are at school, friends homes, or daycare. The plan should include whom they should talk to if they are not feeling well.
Talking to your child about their diabetes and the symptoms to be aware of helps keep them safe. When your child is aware that how theyre feeling is related to their blood sugar levels and diabetes management, they can learn to both self-identify and verbalize or signal to their parents when they need treatment.
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:
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How To Avoid Sugar Headaches
Whether you have diabetes or not, you can manage your diet to avoid developing a headache after sugar consumption. Try these strategies:
Avoid sugar binges. Remember that sugar exists in many foodsand in alcohol. To avoid a sugar headache, dont binge on candy, desserts or cocktails.
Drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration can help your body eliminate excessive glucose from the bloodstream.
Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones. Simple carbohydrates like refined grains, potatoes and table sugar cause insulin levels to spike, which can lead to headache. To avoid that, aim to eat more complex carbohydrates like fresh vegetables and whole grains. Complex carbs take longer to digest and dont dramatically raise insulin levels.
Reduce your sugar consumption gradually. Taper off sugary drinks, for example, instead of quitting cold turkey. This approach will allow your brain and blood vessels to adapt to the change in glucose levels.
Track your carbohydrate and sugar consumption, either formally or informally. People with diabetes should precisely track all the simple and complex carbs they consume throughout the day to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Others can use a dietary app for this purpose, or simply limit the amount of simple carbohydrates you eat with each meal.
What Else You Should Know About Ocular Migraines
An ocular migraine is short-lived and may not be painful, but it can be debilitating you have to be careful while doing daily activities like driving, reading, or writing. The chance of permanent vision loss due to an ocular migraine is rare but the reduced blood flow for a prolonged time can damage your retina. So it is a good idea to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist to check your condition.
Since hormones play such a big role in causing migraines, declining estrogen levels as women age and enter menopause is a reason why migraines usually reduce in severity in older women.11
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Is It A Trigger Or A Warning
We know that the brain of someone with migraine likes balance, like regular sleep and meal patterns. We also know that migraine can be triggered by alcohol and the menstrual cycle. The evidence for other triggers, such as exercise, eating chocolate and bright light, is less certain.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is really a trigger, or if what youre experiencing is an early symptom of a migraine attack.
Studies have found that sometimes what you may think is a trigger is actually to do with the premonitory or warning stage of a migraine attack.
During this stage, you may get symptoms such as changes in your mood or emotions, cravings for certain foods, and being more sensitive to light, sound or smells.
These symptoms can lead to you think that something is triggering your migraine attack. For example, at the beginning of a migraine attack, you may start to crave sweet foods. You may then eat some chocolate to satisfy the craving. When you then get a headache, you may think that eating chocolate was the trigger. But actually you were starting to have a migraine attack when the cravings started and the cravings were the warning sign.
The same could be true for other triggers. If you are more sensitive to light in the warning stage, you might think bright lights are a trigger. If you are more sensitive to smells, you might think certain scents are a trigger.
Is Hypoglycemia Causing Your Migraines
Your body runs on glucose. You break down the carbohydrates you eat into glucose for your cells to use for energy. You can probably guess what happens when there is not enough glucose in your system.
When hypoglycemia occurs, the body has several ways to tell you it needs more fuel, not all of them pleasant. For some unfortunate people, the low-on-gas message is received as a migraine. We are here to tell you more about hypoglycemia, its connection to migraines, and how you can treat and prevent these problems now and in the future.
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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.
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How To Identify Triggers
If you have migraine, almost anything can be a trigger. This means it can be very difficult to identify your potential triggers. It may also be a combination of a few things that seems to lead to a migraine attack. And a trigger may not lead to a migraine attack every time, which can confuse things even more.
Here is an example of how combinations of triggers can work: A young woman has identified that her migraine attacks appear to be triggered when she skips meals, is feeling stressed and when she is about to have her period. If she comes home late from a very stressful day at work, her period is just about to start, and she goes straight to bed without eating a proper meal, she will almost certainly have a migraine attack. However, if she skips dinner another time, when the other triggers did not happen, she will probably not have migraine attack.
Many people find that they sometimes go a long time without having a migraine attack. During this time, your body may seem to be less sensitive to triggers and you may find that even the combination of your usual triggers doesnt result in a migraine attack.
How To Treat Diabetes And Headaches
Diabetic headaches stem from different conditions surrounding diabetes. Yet, these headaches all have diabetes in common, meaning that treatment should focus on managing diabetes.
In other words, in order to treat a diabetic headache, the diabetes should be treated.
Headaches caused by hypo- or hyperglycemia can be treated immediately with the standard methods for dealing with low or high blood sugar.
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Long-term stable blood sugar will also reduce the problems associated with neuropathy and high blood pressure, and will alleviate symptoms associated with those conditions including headaches. For tips on general blood sugar management, see How to keep Blood Sugar Stable.
In some cases of neuropathic headaches, the pain might be severe enough that some form of pain-killer might be needed. Over-the-counter headache pills might not be enough in these cases certain steroid medications can dull the pain instead.
Certain drugs might also be prescribed, such as amitriptyline, a kind of antidepressant which is additionally used to treat other conditions including migraines.
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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 arent 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.
The Link Between Metabolic Health And Migraine
Over the last 20 years or so, researchers have found a strong association between insulin resistance and migraine. A recent review of 56 articles found associations between migraine and poor metabolic health, noting that insulin sensitivity is clearly impaired in migraine.
A study of middle-aged women in Italy83 with episodic migraine, 83 with chronic migraine, and 83 with no migrainefound that women with chronic migraine were three times more likely to have insulin resistance than those with episodic migraine. Additionally, study participants with migraines were more likely to have metabolic syndrome, and obesity was associated with an increased risk of chronic migraines.
Another study, conducted in Turkey, found increased insulin resistance in women with chronic migraine compared to women with episodic migraine and healthy controls. The researchers also found that migraineurs had higher levels of neuropeptide Y, a chain of amino acids in the nervous system that normally helps the body maintain homeostasistoo much of it, though, can have the opposite effect, throwing homeostasis out of balance.
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