Why Does Diabetes Cause Headaches?

If you’ve ever had a raging headache at the same time as having too high or too low blood sugar, then it might be a result of your diabetes. People get headaches all the time for many reasons. All too often it is a stress headache after a long day or pain from sitting in the wrong position too long. But, diabetics who are frequently frustrated by headaches and migraines that they can’t seem to control, should consider another potential cause.

A Common Symptom

Headaches are such a common symptom for diabetics, it is often considered an early sign of hyperglycemia and can take days to develop. It may even get worse as your blood sugar levels continue to rise. It’s also a symptom of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. When you have hypoglycemia your symptoms usually come on suddenly and may include multiple symptoms at once, like shaking and nausea.

What is the Cause?

It’s thought that the symptoms of both types of diabetes headaches are the result of hormones, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, that are released in response to high or low blood sugars. These can trigger fluctuations in the blood vessels around the brain causing the pain of a headache.

Preventing It, Treating It

One of the best ways to prevent or even treat these headaches is to keep your blood glucose levels stable. It isn’t always easy, as many people can attest. Try your best by keeping regular tabs on your blood sugar levels throughout the day. If you start to feel a headache coming on, make sure to test.

If you have low blood sugar, treat this by eating about 15 to 30 grams of carbs and testing every 15 minutes until your levels have returned to normal. If you still have a headache, you may need to take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help ease the symptoms.

When you have elevated blood sugar, you may need to take a dose of insulin, if you have a prescription. Otherwise, follow your doctor’s recommendation for treating high glucose. If it is very elevated, you might want to contact your doctor directly.


[expand title=”References“]

Is Diabetes to Blame for Your Headache? URL Link. Accessed October 27th, 2017.

Diabetes and Headaches: Soothing That Aching Head. URL Link. Accessed October 27th, 2017.


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