Diabetes is a chronic medical condition affecting millions of people worldwide. This metabolic disorder is associated with high blood sugar levels which are also known as hyperglycemia. It results in an imbalance of sugar levels due to the absence of the hormone; insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The hormone simply helps regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
When the body fails to properly regulate blood glucose levels, it leads to various complications and long-term health issues.
Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, more thirst, unwanted weight gain or loss, obesity, fatigue, impaired vision, recurring infections, slow healing of wounds or recovery, etc.
However, did you know that headaches can also take place due to high blood sugar levels?
What are Headaches?
Headaches are a common condition that causes pain or discomfort in the head or the upper neck area. It is common to experience headaches in all age groups.
Headaches can be moderate to severe and can occur at any time. The time period to endure a headache may differ from person to person depending upon the condition.
Headaches are associated with sensations such as throbbing, pressure, or aching. Along with headaches, other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, dizziness, and fatigue.
There are 2 types of headaches…
Studies have shown that headaches can be broken into two categories such as:
Primary headaches: These types of headaches take place when the nervous system directly sends pain signals to the brain. Primary headaches can include migraine, etc.
- Secondary headaches: These types of headaches cause pain in the cranial area. It occurs due to health conditions. So, if you are suffering from health problems such as diabetes, injuries, stress, etc, you are most likely to suffer from this type of headache.
Can High Blood Sugar Cause Headaches?
Yes, they can! Headaches are directly related to stress. Stress is one of the most dangerous factors leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. If you are suffering from repeated headaches after having meals, it is a sign of high blood sugar levels.
If the blood sugar balance levels in our bodies are too low or high, it can cause headaches easily. High-stress levels can affect the regulation of glucose in your body.
The Relationship Between Headaches and Blood Sugar Levels:
If you are suffering from hyperglycemia, it is most likely to cause a headache. High blood sugar levels are a type of secondary headache.
To understand the relationship between high blood sugar and headaches, one must learn about the basics of regulating sugar. Blood glucose levels act as the major source of energy.
These are balanced by the body. However, a hormone called insulin which is secreted by the pancreas helps support blood glucose levels.
Here are some of the factors that can cause headaches while going through a high glucose phase:
Effect on blood vessels: Hyperglycemia has an effect on our blood vessels as the high levels of glucose can cause the blood vessels to restrict the blood flow in certain parts of the body that also include the brain. The reduced blood flow to the brain can also constrict the oxygen supply to the brain. The absence of an adequate amount of oxygen and blood flow can trigger headaches.
Inflammation: Having high glucose levels in the body can cause inflammation. Diabetes and inflammation are related to each other. People suffering from diabetes often suffer from inflammation that causes swelling and tingling sensations in the body. It also causes damage to the blood vessels that further make the headaches intense.
Impact on the nervous system: It has been studied that blood sugar is related to the nervous system. Having chronic levels of blood glucose can cause nerve damage, which is a condition called diabetic neuropathy. The nerve damage can not only affect your body parts such as your head and neck but can also lead to headaches. The fluctuations of neurotransmitter levels such as serotonin and dopamine lead to headaches too.
Dehydration: As you know, one of the most common symptoms of diabetes is extreme thirst. This is because the body feels dehydrated. It is a common consequence of high blood sugar levels. The body suffers from excessive flood loss as your body goes through frequent urination too. A dehydrated body can be directly related to headaches in many individuals.
Stress: Stress is one of the most important factors that contribute to both high blood sugar and headaches. Our body releases stress hormones such as cortisol that indirectly increase blood sugar levels. High levels of stress lead to muscle tension and restricts the blood flow which, in turn, constricts blood vessels.
- Hormonal shifts: Hormone changes, including those in epinephrine and norepinephrine, can be brought on by an excess of glucose in the blood. This can cause headaches due to the direct effects of these hormones on the narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain.
How Can You Treat Your Headache?
Firstly, it is extremely essential to confirm the cause of your headache. Take a blood glucose test. And, if it is due to the high levels of glucose in your blood, you can do the following things to reduce the pain:
Exercise: Exercising will not only help you feel better but it also helps the blood flow smoothly throughout the body.
Stay hydrated: Drink fluids to increase hydration in the body. You can eat veggies and fruits with a great water content to stay hydrated.
Take insulin: You can take insulin or a proper medicine as recommended by your doctor.
Maintain a balanced diet: It is important to avoid foods made with too much sugar, refined white flour, deep-fried items, and too much fat, carbs, and carbohydrates. Include a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.
- Balance weight: Have a moderate weight. It is a must to maintain your weight in order to lower the ill effects of diabetes and become obese.
To sum up, high blood sugar can contribute a lot to triggering unwanted headaches.
This can happen due to various mechanisms such as changes in blood vessel functioning, nerve damage, dehydration, interference with stress, etc.
To stay away from the unbearable pains of headaches, it is a must to have regular blood sugar levels. However, if you suffer from headaches too frequently, it is important to consult a physician and take proper medication.