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 carboh Continue reading