Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that causes high blood glucose levels and a host of secondary symptoms, some of which can be dangerous. A less serious side effect of having type 1 or type 2 diabetes is having a headache. You can have a headache in diabetes any time that your blood sugar levels are too high or too low. While headaches in diabetes aren’t inherently dangerous, they can become a signal to you that the blood sugar values are out of control. If you are experiencing a headache and also have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should check your blood sugar right away and take measures to bring your blood sugar under good control. Headache Information Headaches are extremely common and can be seen in both adults and children. Headaches are perhaps the most common type of pain a person can have. They are a major cause of work loss as well as missed days from school. There are many causes of headaches, including out of control diabetes and low blood sugar. Headaches can be primary or secondary headaches. Primary headaches have no underlying cause but occur when the nerve cells of the brain, the muscles around the scalp, or the blood vessels in the brain send pain signals to the part of the brain that registers pain. Common primary headaches include tension headaches and migraine headaches, which may or may not be related to having diabetes. Secondary headaches are those headaches that have some kind of underlying cause. One cause of secondary headaches is diabetes. Other things that can trigger secondary headaches include the following: Brain abnormalities such as an aneurysm or brain tumor Problems with the eyes and vision Hormonal changes, such as those seen in women from their menstrual cycle Stress or anxiety Hemorrhagic stroke Hypertension (high blood Continue reading >>
How To Manage A Diabetic Headache
Diabetic Headache – What Is It? When I look at a referral before seeing a new patient, I always look at the doctor’s notes. Often, I’ll see “repeat” patients – I saw them several months ago, and we made changes to their insulin regimen, their blood glucose log was emailed to me, but then the patient stopped following up. They are then sent back to me because their hemoglobin A1C has increased – from 8.5% to 12.0%. And their chief complaint? A headache. Oh – and they are barely checking their blood sugar levels, which means they are rarely giving insulin. The Diabetic Headache The patient tells me that “all of a sudden” they started getting headaches or migraines, but their doctor won’t provide them with any migraine medication. Obviously, I’m not a physician. I don’t know for sure that this patient isn’t getting migraines, but I can read between the lines – that their headaches are related to their blood sugar levels as opposed to migraines. I explain this to the patient – gently. Having diabetes does not automatically mean that someone will get headaches. In fact, many people with diabetes do not get headaches related to their condition. However, if they do get frequent headaches, it is most likely related to extremes in blood sugar levels – hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia is a blood sugar that is greater than 180 mg/dL. Hypoglycemia is a blood sugar that is less than 70 mg/dL. A headache can be a symptom of either of these blood sugar levels – and it can also be a sign of a greatly varying blood sugar. For example, if someone’s headache was 80 mg/dL before a meal and they forgot to inject insulin according to the pizza they ingested – their blood sugar may go up dramatically. There are cases where some people may g Continue reading >>
7 Warning Signs Of Type 2 Diabetes
1 / 8 What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes? More than 100 million American adults are living with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the number of people who know they have the diseases — which can lead to life-threatening complications, like blindness and heart disease — is far lower. Data from the CDC suggests that of the estimated 30.3 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, 7.2 million, or 1 in 4 adults living with the disease, are not aware of it. And among those people living with prediabetes, only 11.6 percent are aware that they have the disease. Prediabetes is marked by higher than normal blood sugar levels — though not high enough to qualify as diabetes. The CDC notes that this condition often leads to full-blown type 2 diabetes within five years if it's left untreated through diet and lifestyle modifications. Type 2 diabetes, which is often diagnosed when a person has an A1C of at least 7 on two separate occasions, can lead to potentially serious issues, like neuropathy, or nerve damage; vision problems; an increased risk of heart disease; and other diabetes complications. A person’s A1C is the two- to three-month average of his or her blood sugar levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors may use other tests to diagnose diabetes. For example, they may conduct a fasting blood glucose test, which is a blood glucose test done after a night of fasting. While a fasting blood sugar level of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is normal, one that is between 100 to 125 mg/dL signals prediabetes, and a reading that reaches 126 mg/dL on two separate occasions means you have diabetes. People with full-blown type 2 diabetes are not able to use the h 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 >>
6 Emergency Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of many serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, vision loss, and amputation. But by keeping your diabetes in check — that means maintaining good blood sugar control — and knowing how to recognize a problem and what to do about it should one occur, you can prevent many of these serious complications of diabetes. Heart Attack Heart disease and stroke are the top causes of death and disability in people with diabetes. Heart attack symptoms may appear suddenly or be subtle, with only mild pain and discomfort. If you experience any of the following heart attack warning signs, call 911 immediately: Chest discomfort that feels like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest, lasting for a short time or going away and returning Pain elsewhere, including the back, jaw, stomach, or neck; or pain in one or both arms Shortness of breath Nausea or lightheadedness Stroke If you suddenly experience any of the following stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately. As with a heart attack, immediate treatment can be the difference between life and death. Stroke warning signs may include: Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially if it occurs on one side of the body Feeling confused Difficulty walking and talking and lacking coordination Developing a severe headache for no apparent reason Nerve Damage People with diabetes are at increased risk of nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy, due to uncontrolled high blood sugar. Nerve damage associated with type 2 diabetes can cause a loss of feeling in your feet, which makes you more vulnerable to injury and infection. You may get a blister or cut on your foot that you don't feel and, unless you check your feet regularly, an infection 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 >>
What Does A Diabetic Headache Feel Like?
About Diabetes & Diabetic Headache When your body's ability to use or produce insulin gets impaired, it gives way to a disease known as diabetes. Insulin is a hormone which helps the body to use glucose or sugar derived from the food we eat to give us energy or store it for future use. Made in the pancreas, insulin also helps prevent the blood sugar levels from getting both too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia). There are 2 types of Diabetes. In the Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas in unable to produce insulin without which excess amounts of sugar remain in the blood, become toxic over time and lead to headaches, blindness, neuropathy and fatigue. In Type 2 Diabetes, cellular resistance to insulin occurs in the body and is not diagnosed till severe symptoms such as diabetic headaches start to reveal itself. Understanding what a diabetic headache or the symptoms of a diabetic headache is not easy and in some cases the patient is unable to bear the pain associated with the same. Let us analyze what a diabetic headache feels like. What Does a Diabetic Headache Feel Like? The cause of the diabetic headache determines its feeling and extent. There are certain symptoms and signs which help determine the type of diabetic headache that you are suffering from. Let us analyze each of these types of diabetic headaches and the feeling associated with it. High blood glucose of hyperglycemia occurs when there is insufficient production of insulin in the pancreas or the body develops cellular resistance to the same. Occurring in both types of diabetes, it can prove to be fatal for some patients as the high concentration of glucose in the blood can prove toxic for the blood nerves or vessels. The problem with this condition is that many patients are unable to feel the symptom Continue reading >>
What Cause Headaches In Diabetes?
People suffering from diabetes are highly susceptible to headaches. In fact, persistent headache is an obvious sign of diabetes. Diabetes headaches can be due to various reasons. Hyperglycemia is a term that refers to having too much glucose circulating in the blood as a result of lack of insulin production in the pancreas, or cellular resistance to insulin. Hyperglycemia is a serious condition since high concentrations of glucose can be toxic to the blood vessels and the nerves. According to health experts, headache is considered an early symptom of hyperglycemia and is usually accompanied with fatigue, confusion and blurred vision. In the absence of insulin therapy, hyperglycemia can lead to the buildup of ketones which are waste products in both the urine and blood. Buildup of ketones that can lead to coma and death. Hypoglycemia happens when there is too little amount of glucose in the blood for the body to use for energy. If you have diabetes, hypoglycemia can occur if you mismanaged your insulin therapy. If you do not have diabetes, not eating enough nutrients like carbohydrates, which the body needs to breakdown to glucose, may result in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a serious condition because glucose is the main source of energy for the brain. Without enough glucose our brains are not able to function properly. According to the American Heart Association, dull headache is an early sign of hypoglycemia and can come with other related symptoms like cloudy vision, dizziness, sweating, confusion and tremors. If you do not eat sufficient carbohydrates, like fruits, pasta, breads or juices, hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, convulsions and even death. If you’re suffering from diabetes, then you should know that you’re at high risk of glaucoma. 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 >>
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 >>
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can cause serious health complications. That's why it is very important to know how to spot type 2 diabetes symptoms. Even prediabetes can increase the chance of heart disease, just like type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Talk to your doctor about preventive measures you can take now to reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes due to high blood sugar may include: Increased thirst Increased hunger (especially after eating) Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry) Fatigue (weak, tired feeling) Loss of consciousness (rare) Contact your health care provider if you have any type 2 diabetes symptoms or if you have further questions about type 2 diabetes. It's important to get diabetes testing and start a treatment plan early to prevent serious diabetes complications. Type 2 diabetes is usually not diagnosed until health complications have occurred. Most often, there are no diabetes symptoms or a very gradual development of the above symptoms of type 2 diabetes. In fact, about one out of every four people with type 2 diabetes don't know they have it. Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include: Slow-healing sores or cuts Itching of the skin (usually around the vaginal or groin area) Recent weight gain or unexplained weight loss Velvety dark skin changes of the neck, armpit, and groin, called acanthosis nigricans Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet Erectile dysfunction (impotency) Continue reading >>
Is Diabetes To Blame For Your Headache?
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that results in blood sugar, or glucose, abnormalities. This causes a host of symptoms and related complications, some of which can be life-threatening. A common symptom of high or low blood glucose is a headache. Headaches alone aren’t harmful, but they can signal that your blood sugar is out of its target range. If you have frequent headaches, diabetes may be to blame. Find out if diabetes is the cause of your headache so you can take proper action. Can diabetes cause seizures? Learn how to prevent them » Headaches are common in both children and adults. In fact, headaches are the most common source of pain. They’re also a leading cause for days missed from work and school. Headaches are a frequent problem among the American population, but there are numerous causes. Headaches are classified as being primary or secondary. Primary headaches occur when brain cells or nerves, blood vessels, or muscles around the head send pain signals to the brain. Migraines and tension headaches are common examples. Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are not directly caused by the type of pain signals mentioned above. These types of headaches are attributed to underlying health conditions or medical problems. Diabetes is one cause of secondary headaches. Other causes can include: fever or infection injury high blood pressure, or hypertension stroke anxiety or stress hormone fluctuations, such as those occurring during menstrual cycle eye disorders structural abnormalities within the brain Just as causes can vary, the pain associated with secondary headaches can vary. Headaches due to diabetes are often moderate to severe in nature, and are known to occur frequently. These headaches can be a sign that your blood glucose is either too high Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Headaches: Soothing That Aching Head
We’ve all had headaches. Some more than others, I suspect. I woke up the other morning with a pounding headache, as a matter of fact. Having a headache is definitely not the way to start your day. Perhaps not surprisingly, people who have diabetes can certainly get headaches, and apart from the “usual” culprits, these headaches can stem from fluctuations in blood sugar. There are ways to treat and manage them, however. Read on to learn more. What is a headache anyway? Simply put, a headache is a pain that occurs in any part of the head — on the side, in the front, or in the back. The type of headache pain can vary widely, from sharp, to dull, to throbbing. And the frequency of pain may be different — the pain may come on all of a sudden, or more gradually, and it can last an hour or last days. Types of headaches A headache is a headache, right? Not exactly. There are two main forms of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is due to a problem with or overactivity of pain structures in the head, such as blood vessels, nerves, or muscles. Examples of primary headaches include: • Migraines • Cluster headaches • Tension headaches Secondary headaches occur as a symptom of a disease or condition, such as: • Blood clot • Brain aneurysm • Brain freeze (also known as “ice cream headache”) • Brain tumor • Carbon monoxide poisoning • Flu • Ear infection • Sinus infection • Stroke • Concussion • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) • Panic attacks • Changes in hormones Why might diabetes cause headaches? Having diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll automatically have headaches. However, diabetes headaches tend to occur due to changes in blood sugar levels. The more “up and down” your blood sugars are, the more likely Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>