Diabetes: Is headache a symptom of high or low blood sugar? | Health - Hindustan Times
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Diabetes: Is headache a symptom of high or low blood sugar?

By, New Delhi
Jun 16, 2023 11:32 AM IST

If you have diabetes, one of the reasons behind your frequent headaches could be fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. All you want to know.

In the age of stress headaches and muscular tension or screen induced headaches, it's often difficult to tell the root cause of what's causing it. Just like fever, headache is also a common symptom of many underlying health conditions, including diabetes. If you have diabetes, one of the reasons behind your frequent headaches could be fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. As the blood sugar level goes up and down it may cause headache among the patients due to change in level of hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. So, if you have diabetes, do headaches indicate a spike in blood sugar or a dip? Expert answers. (Also read: High blood sugar? 11 lifestyle changes to prevent or manage diabetes)

In people with diabetes, headaches can be associated with high as well as low blood sugar levels.(Freepik)
In people with diabetes, headaches can be associated with high as well as low blood sugar levels.(Freepik)

How high blood sugar can cause headaches

"In people with diabetes, headaches can be associated with high as well as low blood sugar levels. When a diabetic is affected by the condition of high blood sugar levels in the body, called hyperglycaemia, the body tries to eliminate the excess glucose, increasing urine production. As a result, dehydration and inflammation start occurring in the body of the affected, causing constriction in the brain’s blood vessels. This constriction leads to headaches in people with hyperglycaemia," says Dr Navneet Agrawal, Chief Health Officer, BeatO.

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Early morning headaches associated with low blood sugar

On the other hand, a person afflicted by low blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, causing hypoglycaemia may also experience headaches due to a dearth of glucose reaching the brain. "The early morning headaches especially suggest the possibility of hypoglycaemia," says Dr Agrawal.

How diabetes headaches can be treated

Dr Agrawal says the headaches caused by hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia can be treated by controlling blood sugar levels.

"However, it is important to note that people who experience regular headaches should consult healthcare professionals, as headaches can also be caused by other reasons, such as deteriorated eyesight, anxiety, strain, migraines, sinus, etc. Thus, it is imperative that blood sugar levels are kept under monitor, and advice by expert coaches is followed when a patient's sugar level levels start fluctuating," says the expert.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes

"After the release of the recent Lancet report on diabetes in India, it is important especially for people with diabetes to recognize the early signs of the disease, some of which are, increased thirst, tremors, confusion, fatigue, weight loss, increased feeling of hunger, vision loss, and prolonged healing of wounds. Following a good nutrition plan is important, as suggested by a certified diabetes educator. Consultation with a doctor for routine management of diabetes can go a long way to control and prevent long-term complications," concludes Dr Agrawal.

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