Can diabetes cause headaches? While it is true that most people do not think of diabetes when they have a headache, new research shows that the condition can in fact be a cause of this commonly experienced problem. How? Find out below.
Diabetes doesn’t only cause complications with your blood glucose, it can also affect other parts of your body like the eyes, kidneys, and heart.
Sometimes people who have diabetes can experience headaches and migraines without knowing why. This could be due to a drop in blood glucose levels or it could be due to other complications associated with diabetes.
(Type of Headache Here) is a common side effect associated with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, particularly if you have experienced early onset of the disease. More than 30 million Americans are living with diabetes, and roughly 95% of these patients exhibit some form of this condition.
While it can sometimes be scary to ask your doctor about a health problem, talking about it can help you figure out what is causing your symptoms. Maybe you just need to make a few changes to how you eat or how much you exercise. Maybe you have something more serious going on, like diabetes.
Can diabetes cause headaches? People with diabetes have a much greater risk of getting serious brain diseases, like stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. But can diabetes cause common headaches? Or do they just make it worse?
People who have diabetes can experience different kinds of headaches including migraines, sinus, caused by high blood pressure, and cluster headaches. Diabetes is actually the leading cause of so many different types of headache including migraines in children.
Things to notes
- Can diabetes cause headaches?
- Is your headache a diabetes symptom?
- What can be done to prevent headaches from diabetes?
- Low blood sugar may also cause headaches
- Poor sleep habits may cause headaches
- Where are diabetic headaches located?
- What are 10 warning signs of diabetes?
Can diabetes cause headaches?
Diabetes causes headaches in several ways:
Blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) may cause headaches because of the chemical changes in your body that make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. This feeling may also make you more sensitive to pain.
High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure causes throbbing pain in the head, especially when you stand up or move around, because of increased pressure on the arteries in the neck and head.
If your blood sugar levels are high, it can make it hard for your brain to get enough oxygen and nutrients. This can cause trouble with your vision and make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. It can also lead to headaches, especially if you have elevated blood pressure or nerve damage (neuropathy).
The link between high blood sugar and headaches isn’t fully understood. It’s thought that some of the symptoms may be caused by inflammation in the brain, which happens when there’s too much glucose in the bloodstream.
This can lead to swelling in the surrounding tissue and a breakdown of proteins that help cells communicate with each other.
One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is frequent urination, which is believed to be caused by the loss of fluids in your body due to high blood sugar levels. This loss of fluids means you may also be dehydrated, which can cause headaches.
Dehydration can also be caused by taking medications for diabetes that help you urinate more frequently or by not drinking enough water each day.
Is your headache a diabetes symptom?
You can’t ignore headaches. They are one of the most common warning signs of many health problems. In fact, a headache is one of the first signs that you might have diabetes.
Treating your diabetes can help relieve your headaches, but it’s important to know what kind of headache you have before you can treat it effectively.
There are several types of headaches:
Migraine: This is a severe headache that occurs on one side of the head and is accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
A migraine usually lasts from four hours to three days and often has an aura (warning sign) before it starts. A migraine can be triggered by stress or dehydration, as well as certain foods such as chocolate and wine.
Cluster headache: This is a type of chronic pain that occurs on both sides of the head at the same time about once every other day for two weeks or more with no breaks in between attacks.
Cluster headaches cause severe pain behind one eye and make it hard to function normally during an attack because they’re so painful.
Tension-type headache: These are the most common type of headaches, affecting more than 90 percent of adults at some point in their lives. You may feel tension behind.
If your blood sugar levels go down, the headache will go away. The best way to do this is by eating more often or drinking more fluids.
If your blood sugar is high, your body tries to flush out the excess glucose by releasing hormones that increase urination and sweating. As a result, dehydration occurs more quickly than normal for people who have diabetes. If you are dehydrated, it can cause headaches.
What can be done to prevent headaches from diabetes?
The best way to prevent headaches from diabetes is to control the blood sugar levels. If you are taking insulin, check your blood sugar level frequently and watch for hypoglycemia. If you have type 1 diabetes, you may need to increase your dose of insulin if you eat too much or do not take enough exercise.
If you have type 2 diabetes, controlling your diet and exercising regularly can lower your blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of getting headaches.
In addition, it is important that you avoid alcohol, tobacco products (including smokeless tobacco), recreational drugs (including marijuana), and other substances that affect blood vessels in the brain.
It’s important to eat regular meals and snacks and avoid skipping meals or fasting. Skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to drop too low, which can lead to dizziness, fatigue and headache symptoms.
It’s also important not to wait until you’re hungry before eating something, because low blood sugar can happen between meals as well as after eating a meal or snack. If you feel hungry, have a small snack right away even if it’s only 15 minutes before the next meal or snack time.
What causes headaches in people with diabetes?
Headaches are caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor sleep habits, alcohol consumption and dehydration. But for people with diabetes, the most common cause of frequent headaches is high blood glucose levels over time.
When your blood glucose levels are out of range, your body may not be able to absorb enough oxygen through your red blood cells. This causes an accumulation of carbon dioxide in the brain tissues. This buildup can trigger a headache by constricting the blood vessels in your head and neck area.
How can I prevent headaches caused by my diabetes?
You can prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) by testing your blood glucose before meals and snacks to make sure it is within your target range before eating (70-130 mg/dl).
If you don’t want to test before every meal or snack, then at least check your blood sugar level before driving if it was above 240 mg/dl within the last hour.
There are many steps that can be taken to prevent headaches from diabetes
Step 1: Be aware of your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are a key part of managing diabetes and lowering the risk for headaches. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more likely you are to experience headaches.
Step 2: Keep track of how food affects your headache symptoms. Some foods can trigger headaches when eaten by people with diabetes, so keep track of what you eat and how it affects your headache symptoms. If you find certain foods trigger headaches, try eating them less often or in smaller amounts.
Step 3: Choose low-sugar foods over high-sugar ones whenever possible. Low-sugar foods like fruits and vegetables will help keep blood sugar levels under control and decrease the risk for headaches.
High-sugar foods like sugary sodas and candy should be avoided as much as possible because they increase blood sugar levels quickly and cause spikes in insulin production that can lead to headaches over time.
Step 4: Watch portions carefully while eating meals with friends or family members who don’t have diabetes because some foods are high in simple sugars even when they’re not sweet on their own (such as bread).
Low blood sugar may also cause headaches
Low blood sugar may also cause headaches. You may get headaches when you don’t eat for a long time or after working out or exercising.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough glucose (sugar), the main source of fuel for the body. Glucose comes from two sources: carbohydrates in your diet and sugars made by the liver.
When glucose levels fall too low, you may experience symptoms such as sweating, shaking, hunger, irritability, dizziness, confusion and blurred vision. If your blood sugar level becomes too low, it could lead to unconsciousness or even death if not treated right away.
Low blood sugar may also cause headaches. When your blood sugar drops too low, it can affect the way your brain functions. This can cause you to feel tired and hungry. If you don’t eat or drink something sugary, you could get a headache from low blood sugar.
If you have diabetes and are experiencing frequent headaches, call your doctor right away. He or she will likely ask about your diet, exercise habits, and medications and might do some tests to find out if there’s another cause for your headaches.
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, occurs when your blood glucose level falls below normal limits. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body and brain.
When you don’t have enough glucose, your body goes into survival mode to maintain normal function. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, while hormones such as cortisol rise to give you more energy.
Poor sleep habits may cause headaches
The study, which was published in the journal Headache, looked at 172 participants who reported having a headache at least once a week. The researchers found that people who slept fewer than seven hours per night were more likely to experience severe headaches than those who slept longer.
Additionally, people who went to bed later than 11 p.m. were more likely to have frequent headaches compared with those who went to bed earlier.
“These results suggest that chronic sleep deprivation may be linked with headache,” said lead author Dr. Rhonda Randall, assistant professor of neurology at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, in an email interview with Healthline.
“Although further research is needed to confirm this association, it may help explain why so many people with chronic headaches report sleep problems.” Poor sleep habits may cause headaches, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
“For many people who suffer from headaches, poor sleep is a common and overlooked trigger,” said AASM President Dr. William H. Kryger. “Poor sleep can contribute to chronic headaches, as well as tension, migraine and cluster headaches.”
The AASM recommends that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal health.
However, more than one-third (39 percent) of U.S. adults report getting less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis and nearly half (45 percent) say they usually do not feel well-rested after waking up in the morning.
Where are diabetic headaches located?
Diabetic headaches are usually located in the front of the head, around the temples. The pain may be described as throbbing or pulsing.
The pain of a diabetic headache is often more severe than a tension headache, but not always. It’s often on both sides of the head at once, but it can also be unilateral (on one side only).
A diabetic headache is a pain that occurs in the head due to the reduced blood flow in the brain. They are common among people with diabetes, especially those who have uncontrolled sugar levels and high blood pressure.
Diabetic headaches can occur for many reasons. They sometimes develop when blood sugar levels are too high and may be related to poor circulation in the brain.
Other times, they may occur due to high blood pressure or because of an infection in your sinuses or inner ear.
Your doctor will be able to determine what’s causing your headache and provide you with the best treatment options available for relieving your pain.
What are 10 warning signs of diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious condition that affects the way your body processes sugar. If you know someone who has diabetes, it’s important to understand how they can reduce the risk of complications by keeping their blood glucose levels under control and taking medications as prescribed.
Here are 10 warning signs of diabetes to look out for in yourself or others:
1. Excessive thirst and urination
2. Fatigue or tiredness
3. Blurred vision
4. Frequent infections such as colds or flu, especially with low-grade fever
5. Slow-healing sores or frequent infections that don’t respond to treatment (such as yeast infections)
6. Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
7. Unintended weight loss from fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea (in children)
8. Sexual dysfunction in men (erectile dysfunction)
9. Sores that are slow to heal on feet and legs (ulcers)
10 Swollen legs
Diabetes, a condition in which the body has trouble using glucose, the main source of energy for the body, can lead to serious health problems. If you have diabetes, you should be aware of the warning signs.
However, frequent headaches may be a pain that needs to be addressed by your physician. If you are experiencing persistent headaches with no other symptoms of allergy or sinus infection, it’s best to visit your doctor sooner rather than later.
If you have diabetes, you should be aware of what can trigger a headache. High blood sugar, low blood sugar, and insufficient vitamin C levels are all potential triggers for a debilitating headache when you have diabetes.
Keep control of your diabetes, and you can minimize or avoid the headache triggers altogether. Since the onset of diabetes remains largely unknown, associated complications are also a mystery to this day.
There is, however, a possible link between headaches and the disease. Statistics show that those with diabetes are twice as likely to have headaches from time to time than the non-diabetic population.
It’s not uncommon for headache sufferers to wonder if there is something else that’s causing their headaches besides stress or lack of sleep. As it turns out, there are reasons why chronic headaches and diabetes could be linked, although this does not mean that everybody who has diabetes will get headaches.
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