Cluster Headache Faqs
A A A Cluster headache is an uncommon condition characterized by short-lived attacks of sudden, severe pain around one of the eyes. The word cluster is used because these headaches typically come in groups or bunches. A person may have several headaches a day for weeks or months, usually separated by headache-free periods of varying duration. Many more people have migraine or tension headaches than cluster headaches. The International Headache Society (IHS) classifies cluster headaches as episodic (occurring in cycles) or chronic (long-term without significant breaks). Episodic cluster headaches are defined as those that occur in periods (clusters) lasting from 7 days to 1 year. Clusters are separated by headache-free intervals lasting at least 2 weeks. Clusters usually last 2 weeks to 3 months. Chronic cluster headaches are defined as those that occur for more than 1 year without remission (intervals in which headaches do not occur) or with remissions lasting less than 2 weeks. Chronic headaches are classified as those that are chronic from the start and those that develop from episodic headaches. Chronic cluster headaches are very hard to treat, and standard preventive drugs often do not help people with this type of cluster headache. If a person has the following signs and symptoms, he or she might have what are called symptomatic clusterlike headaches. Lack of a periodic pattern (a pattern that runs in cycles) Continuing low-intensity headaches between high-intensity headaches Partial or little response to standard treatments Weakness or other signs on one side Despite the intense pain of cluster headaches, they are not life threatening. They are harmful to a person’s quality of life, however, and sometimes induce depression and/or anxiety disorders, especially if Continue reading >>
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- Diabetes Can Be (and Cause) a Real Headache
Why Does Sugar Give Me A Headache?
Why Does Sugar Give Me a Headache? Does eating sugar give you a headache? You are not alone. The sugar headache, otherwise known as the Holiday Headache (because we eat so much sugar on Easter, Halloween, Christmas and other holidays) has a lot in common with a hangover but it can strike at any time we overdose on sugar. While most of us have experienced a sugar headache at some time in their lives it is not well-known in medical circles. It might even surprise you to learn that the exact causes of all headaches are a bit of a mystery. Scientists have discovered that both migraines and cluster headaches change blood flow in the brain, but exactly how blood flow changes create a headache is unknown. The same is true of the sugar headache. I view the sugar headache as a toxicity or dehydration event and while it might be an annoyance, it could also be the sign of something more dangerous. Let’s look at dehydration and toxicity and see how they might cause a headache. Sugar Dehydration Dehydration is a common way to get a headache and sugar can lead to dehydration. Eating too much sugar pulls water out of your body in two ways. Dilution: When you eat too much sugar, your body has to dilute that sugar to keep it from harming your body. This means that water is pulled from all parts of your body to balance the large amount of sugar in your blood stream. While this water-pulling effect happens all over the body, it is your head that suffers the most. Urination: One of the ways that your body has of getting rid of excess sugar is to dump it in your urine. This is especially true of diabetics, who have to go to the bathroom a lot. Toxicity The other way to think about sugar is to consider it a toxic event. While your body runs on glucose (a simple sugar) it was never meant to Continue reading >>
On this page: Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy • DR symptoms • Types of diabetic eye disease • Who gets diabetic retinopathy? • Minorities and diabetic eye disease • When is DR a disability? • Eye exam assistance program • Prevention • Diabetic retinopathy videos Diabetic retinopathy — vision-threatening damage to the retina of the eye caused by diabetes — is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. The good news: Diabetic retinopathy often can be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and routine eye exams performed by your optometrist or ophthalmologist. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the United States has the highest rate of diabetes among 38 developed nations, with approximately 30 million Americans — roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 20 and 79 — having the disease. About 90 percent of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which develops when the the body fails to produce enough insulin — a hormone secreted by the pancreas that enables dietary sugar to enter the cells of the body — or the body becomes resistant to insulin. This causes glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream to rise and can eventually damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, an unhealthful diet and physical inactivity. Unfortunately, the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes has increased significantly in the United States over the past 30 years. According to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2015, there were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes reported in the U.S. in 2014. Though this annual number is d Continue reading >>
Ocular Migraine – What You Can Do
An ocular migraine is a type of migraine headache that is associated with visual disturbances in one eye. This type of migraine is not common, and is often diagnosed after other possible causes for the symptoms are ruled out. Ocular migraines are often treated with the same drugs that are used to prevent and treat the more common types of migraine. Read on to learn how to recognize when you are suffering from an ocular migraine, and what remedies are available to you. Treatment Options for Ocular Migraines Ocular migraine is not well understood, and some treatments are supportive in nature, meant only to help deal with symptoms. Certain medications can also be helpful in preventing an episode. Triptans, which are sometimes used to treat other types of migraines, are not typically used to treat ocular migraines. Some of the medications that may be used to treat ocular migraine include: Aspirin: This drug, which is a type of salicylate that can be bought over-the-counter, may be used to reduce inflammation and pain during an ocular migraine. Low doses of aspirin may also be used as a preventative therapy, though this is still experimental. Anti-spasmotics: Divalproex sodium (Depakote) or topiramate (Topamax) are drugs that are often used to treat epilepsy. These drugs may also be used in the prevention of migraines. Calcium-channel blockers: Several types of these drugs, such as verapamil (Verelan) and nifedipine (Procardia), may work to prevent migraines by stopping the constriction of blood vessels. They are not typically a first choice for preventing migraines, although they may be used as a second-line therapy. Tricyclic antidepressants: Some tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil) or nortriptyline (Pamelor) are prescribed to prevent migraines. It’s Continue reading >>
Is Your Diabetes A Pain In The… Head?
An Explanation of the Diabetes Headache What is causing your diabetes headache? Is it your blood sugars? Your new treatment? What exactly is going on? You’ve recently been placed on insulin for management of your diabetes. Your head is pounding. You have a history of migraines. Is the headache caused by your diabetes, or is it a migraine? Well, sometimes it can be hard to tell. However, diabetes can certainly contribute to diabetes headaches. It is important to note that having diabetes does not mean that you’ll get headaches. However, the more your blood sugar levels fluctuate, the more likely you are to have headaches related to your diabetes. When your blood sugar has a rapid drop, your brain senses that it doesn’t have enough glucose to function properly and the blood vessels in your brain can then spasm, causing a headache. When your sugars quickly climb too high, you will feel that familiar lack of concentration and sluggishness (like a food coma). If this goes on too long, your body will try to eliminate excess sugars through increased urination, which can cause dehydration. And, as we know, dehydration can cause headaches. Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia Hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar level is at or below 70 mg/dl. However, if your blood sugar levels are consistently high, you may have symptoms of hypoglycemia at a higher level. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include headaches (of course!), shakiness, sweatiness, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, and hunger. Hyperglycemia is when your blood sugar level is at or above 180 mg/dl. A headache is a common symptom of hyperglycemia, although often you may have no symptoms associated with hyperglycemia. However, symptoms typically become more apparent the higher the blood sugar level. When your blood sugar levels vac Continue reading >>
Headache After Eating – Causes And Home Remedies
Getting a headache after eating is not unusual. However, it is not something people can or should ignore. The symptoms can be uncomfortable enough to impact a person’s life in a significant way. Getting a headache immediately after eating could feel like pressure between the eyes, throbbing on one side of the head, or a tight feeling across the forehead. Each type of sensation could be due to a different source. A headache after eating could also be a symptom of a medical condition. In many cases, people get headache and nausea after eating, and require medical attention to properly diagnose and treat their condition. Constant headaches should not be ignored. They can lead to sleeping problems, stress, and depression, as well as the use of chemical substances. Some headaches are triggered by foods. For instance, there are people who get a headache after eating sugar. Others experience headache following the consumption of salty foods. It is not always food though. Sometimes, it can be a combination of food and an underlying medical condition. Hypoglycemia, which takes place when blood glucose levels drop below normal range, can be a problem for some people. Rice and some fruits that contain carbohydrates are sources of glucose. Reactive hypoglycemia occurs from insulin overproduction followed by the release of the stress hormones. In this case, after eating, the pancreas releases too much insulin, reducing blood glucose levels. The adrenal glands react and boost the blood glucose levels. There is also something called hypoglycemia unawareness. This is when people with type 1 and 2 diabetes have no warning signs of low blood glucose. Causes of headache after eating If you experience headache after eating, you should not jump to conclusions. It could be related to what Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Cause Headaches?-how To Control Headaches Without Medications
What is a headache and what causes it? Headaches are so common for most of us at one time or another. But can diabetes cause headaches? Many things cause headaches and diabetes is can be one of them. While there are medications to take, it’s better to turn and rely on natural headache treatments. For me, they were never really a big problem thankfully. But so many people suffer from cluster, tension, and of course migraine headaches. There can be a zillion causes of this head pain and sometimes we have no idea what causes one particular bout. The more you know about what causes head pain, the easier it is to treat it. I know that many folks treat it with advil, aspirin, ibuprofen, aleve, etc. Taking too much advil is bad for your liver and kidneys. Advil works great for me when I need it but I don’t stay on it for those reasons. The same goes for the others. I do take a baby aspirin each day by doctor’s orders but it’s not for headache pain, just as a blood thinner. Were you aware that the major cause of a headache is dehydration? So the first thing you should do is to drink a glass of water to see if that eliminates the symptoms. Better yet, drink 8 glasses of water a day. That could be causing the issue if you’re not getting enough water. Prevention The best thing for a headache is to prevent it in the first place. Listen, nobody likes any kind of pain no matter where in the body it comes from. Some people have more or less of a tolerance of pain in different areas of the body. I’ve had headaches and at the first sign I wan to treat it because I cannot function at all. I remember one time many years ago I was taking an antibiotic and I had THE worst pain in my head ever. I just laid down on the bed and never forgot it because I had never had a headache lik Continue reading >>
Relief For Diabetic Headache
Type 2 diabetics are more prone to both migraines and regular headaches than an otherwise healthy person. However, relief for a diabetic headache should not come in an over-the-counter painkiller. More often than not, your headache is trying to tell you that your blood sugar levels are out of balance. So instead of treating the headache and masking the problem, learn to associate the pain with your blood sugar levels and treat the cause of your pain. Hypoglycemia Low blood sugar--also known as hypoglycemia or insulin reaction-- is a common cause of headache in diabetics. A hypoglycemia-related headache often results after missing a meal, over-exercising, drinking alcohol, or taking too much insulin or other medication. If you think your headache is related to low blood sugar, confirm it by checking your blood glucose level with your meter. If your levels are below 70 mg/dL, take one of these remedies immediately: 3 glucose tablets or 1 serving of glucose gel 1/2 cup of fruit juice 1/2 cup of soda (not diet) 1 cup of milk 1 tbsp. of sugar or honey (However, be advised that if you are taking Acarbose or Miglitol your blood glucose levels can only be raised by taking a pure glucose tablet or gel.) After the dose, re-check your blood glucose level to make sure that it is above 70 mg/dL. Then, have a snack if your next meal is more than an hour away. Hyperglycemia High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, also can cause headaches in diabetics. High blood sugar can develop over several days or hours and can be the result of eating too much or too frequently, exercising too little, taking too little diabetes medication, stress, illness or injury. If your headache arrives in conjunction with any of those factors or your meter reading is high for you, eat a piece of vinegar soaked in Continue reading >>
Brainstorm Health: Migraine Drugs, Zika Gene Vaccine, Weight Loss And Diabetes
Hey there, readers! This is Sy. Migraines are the Big Bads in the world of headaches, to appropriate a TV trope. They often show up preceded by warning signs—literally called “auras”—that may mess with your vision, cause mood changes, and even induce auditory hallucinations. Once they really get going, migraines can last for days while making it difficult to deal with even semi-bright light and may nausea and vomiting. Some truly unfortunate souls can experience these debilitating episodes frequently; and, unfortunately, the current treatment landscape centers on certain migraine symptoms rather than the root causes of the condition itself. But two new drugs could change the way we treat migraines altogether, according to a pair of large studies published in a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The condition is complex and can be affected by multiple factors, which is partly why it’s so difficult to treat, the study authors note. That’s why the go-to medical route usually involves therapies meant for other conditions, such as blood pressure or depression medicines. But the two drugs being explored—fremanezumab and erenumab—are antibodies that go after parts of the brain at the crux of migraine-induced pain. And they’ve shown promise in preventing many of the most frustrating migraine symptoms, from the nausea to the visual-auditory effects to the headaches themselves. In fact, some of the chronic migraine patients in the studies had no migraines at all following treatment. Now, here’s the twist: The placebo arm of the study also had significant drops in migraine frequency (although not as much as the participants taking the actual drugs did). Still, the effects were significant enough that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may Continue reading >>
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Diabetic Headache Symptoms
Diabetes impairs your body’s ability to produce or use insulin, which regulates blood glucose levels and generates energy. In type I diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin. Without insulin, too much sugar remains in the blood and becomes toxic, leading to fatigue, neuropathy, headaches, blindness and death if left untreated. Type II diabetes is developmental and involves cellular resistance to insulin, which doctors usually don't diagnose until patients report obvious symptoms such as chronic headaches. Video of the Day Hyperglycemia occurs when too much glucose circulates in the blood owing to either lack of insulin production in the pancreas or cellular resistance to insulin. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark of both types of diabetes and is a serious condition because high concentrations of glucose are toxic to nerves and blood vessels. According to the Mayo Clinic, headache is an early symptom of hyperglycemia and frequently includes blurred vision, fatigue and confusion. In the absence of insulin therapy, hyperglycemia can cause a buildup of ketones, which are waste products in the blood and urine, leading to coma and death. Hypoglycemia occurs when too little glucose is in the blood or getting into cells, where the body uses it for energy. If you have diabetes, hypoglycemia can occur if you mismanage your insulin therapy and take too much. If you don't have diabetes, failure to eat enough nutrients such as carbohydrates that the body can easily break down to glucose molecules can result in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a serious condition because glucose is the primary source of energy for brain function. According to the American Heart Association, a dull headache is a common, early sign of hypoglycemia and often includes related symptoms such as dizziness, Continue reading >>
Why Does High (or Low) Blood Sugar Give Me Headaches?
Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner. Headaches can be debilitating, and patients with diabetes can get headaches from blood sugars dropping too low or climbing too high. As if we didn’t have enough to think about, right? There are many factors that can trigger headaches or even migraines, and blood sugar fluctuations are just one of those factors. The key to avoiding blood sugar-related headaches is keeping blood sugars from spiking or dropping too rapidly. For example, when you are treating a low blood sugar, don’t go on a high carbohydrate-eating binge, even though you may be ravenous. Eat a sensible meal with some protein as directed by your healthcare provider. When blood sugar is too low One of the suspected causes of low blood sugar-caused headaches has to do with the blood vessels in your brain. Your brain needs a readily available supply of glucose in order to function properly. If the brain senses it does not have enough sugar, blood vessels in the brain can spasm, triggering a headache. In the fasting state, stress hormones are also released which can cause vasoconstriction leading to headache. There is also a type of headache that can be seen in patients with diabetes that experience frequent low blood sugars, which are followed by rebound high blood sugars. This rebound phenomenon is often due to hormones that the body releases in response to a low blood sugar in an attempt to regulate itself. When blood sugar is too high High blood sugars can cause l Continue reading >>
Hyperglycemia In Diabetes
Print Overview High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) affects people who have diabetes. Several factors can contribute to hyperglycemia in people with diabetes, including food and physical activity choices, illness, nondiabetes medications, or skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication. It's important to treat hyperglycemia, because if left untreated, hyperglycemia can become severe and lead to serious complications requiring emergency care, such as a diabetic coma. In the long term, persistent hyperglycemia, even if not severe, can lead to complications affecting your eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. Symptoms Hyperglycemia doesn't cause symptoms until glucose values are significantly elevated — above 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 11 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Symptoms of hyperglycemia develop slowly over several days or weeks. The longer blood sugar levels stay high, the more serious the symptoms become. However, some people who've had type 2 diabetes for a long time may not show any symptoms despite elevated blood sugars. Early signs and symptoms Recognizing early symptoms of hyperglycemia can help you treat the condition promptly. Watch for: Frequent urination Increased thirst Blurred vision Fatigue Headache Later signs and symptoms If hyperglycemia goes untreated, it can cause toxic acids (ketones) to build up in your blood and urine (ketoacidosis). Signs and symptoms include: Fruity-smelling breath Nausea and vomiting Shortness of breath Dry mouth Weakness Confusion Coma Abdominal pain When to see a doctor Call 911 or emergency medical assistance if: You're sick and can't keep any food or fluids down, and Your blood glucose levels are persistently above 240 mg/dL (13 mmol/L) and you have ketones in your urine Make an appointment with your Continue reading >>
Hypoglycaemia is the medical condition of having an abnormally low blood sugar (glucose) level, and can be responsible for triggering or exacerbating migraine and other headaches The importance of blood-glucose We need energy to function, and most of this energy comes from consuming carbohydrates (sugars). Our bodies convert these carbohydrates into glucose (which is easier to use), and is then carried in the blood to whichever parts of the body need it. The brain requires a continuous supply of glucose from the blood in order to function, and if glucose levels drop (as in hypoglycaemia) the brain is one of the first organs affected. Maintaining blood-glucose levels Our bodies have to keep their blood-glucose levels from becoming too low or too high, and they do this using two fast-acting hormones: insulin and glucagon. When blood-glucose levels get too high, insulin acts to bring them down; when levels get too low, glucagon pushes them back up. Causes of hypoglycaemia If we don’t eat enough calories for our bodies’ needs, then our blood-glucose levels drop too low. This can happen if we skip meals, fast, diet, or exercise on insufficient food. Eating a high-sugar meal can cause ‘reactive hypoglycaemia’, because the sudden rise in blood-glucose from the sugary food triggers an over-production of insulin, which in turn makes the blood-glucose levels fall too low. If diabetes patients inject too much insulin into their bodies, it can also cause their blood-glucose levels to fall too low. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia The brain not receiving enough glucose causes most of the symptoms of hypoglycaemia, which include: headache, migraine, confusion, nausea, sweating, faintness, and hypothermia. If the hypoglycaemia is very severe and prolonged, it can even cause loss-of-c Continue reading >>
Guest Post: Diabetes And Headaches
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! Today I would like to welcome Erich Y. Schultz, J.D., M.B.A., who will be telling us a little about the diabetes and headaches connection. Here he is! Unfortunately, there is a strong connection between diabetes and headaches. In fact, diabetics are more likely to suffer from a headache than non-diabetics. No, this does not mean that every time you get a headache you should be worried that you have diabetes. Instead, it only means that a headache is a common symptom of complications arising from poorly controlled diabetes. Letâ€™s take a closer look at why this happens. What is Diabetes? There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational. All diabetes types affect how our bodies break-down and process food. When food enters the stomach and intestines, our body converts the food into energy called glucose. Glucose is simply a form of sugar in our blood. In a non-diabetic, the glucose flows from the blood into our cells, providing the individual cells with the necessary energy to run properly. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, is the substance that facilitates the transfer of the glucose from the blood to the cells. In a diabetic, this process does not work properly. Insulin is either not produced at all or not enough is produced to process the glucose. Alternatively, the individual cells may be resistant to the insulin, thus the glucose is not transferred. Regardless of the reason, the glucose is not processed and will build up in the blood and/or passes through the body through urination. The net result is that the body does not get enough energy and dangerous amounts of glucose can build up in the blood causing complications, if not death. All in all, neither s Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Cause Headaches?
We all get the odd headache. In fact, 15 per cent of Australians will have popped a painkiller to treat one by the time you finish reading this story. People living with diabetes, however, are more likely to be hit with headaches than the rest of the population, and having diabetes may even increase your migraine risk. ‘Headaches are one of the most common complaints doctors are presented with,’ says Dr Tony Bartone, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victoria. ‘That, combined with the fact they can be caused by a variety of things, means it’s understandable that some people may not make the link between their diabetes and their headaches.’ Find the link and you are halfway to solving the problem. Here’s what to look for… High or low blood glucose levels A headache can be a symptom of hypo- or hyper glycaemia – when blood glucose levels go too low or too high. Low blood glucose levels trigger the release of hormones that cause vasoconstriction – a narrowing of the blood vessels – which may bring on a headache. High BGLs can cause you to run to the loo more often, which sometimes leads to dehydration and, in turn, a headache. THE FIX: As soon as you feel a headache coming on, test your blood glucose levels. This is especially important if you frequently wake up with a pounding head, which could be a sign of nocturnal hypoglycaemia (going too low overnight) if you take insulin or certain other medications. See your doctor if you suspect this is the cause of your headaches. If your levels are low, treat them with 15g of fast-acting carbohydrate and monitor your symptoms as your blood glucose levels return to normal. Once they stabilise, the headache may ease. On the other hand, if your levels are high, exercise may help, but first che Continue reading >>