Diabetes Headache || Must read for diabetic patients

We all know what headaches are, and how they can disturb our daily routine. While this condition is common among individuals, there are scenarios which cause them to trigger frequently among certain individuals.
In this article, we will try to understand one of those headache triggers caused by diabetes, also known as “Diabetes Headache”

In medical terminologies, headaches are classified into two groups:
1. Primary Headache
2. Secondary Headache

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You will be surprised to know the above classification after all a headache is a headache.
But getting in the depth of every problem can help us to find the solution easily.

Primary headaches are caused when the brain cells or blood vessels around it send the pain signals. It is more direct and is known to affect the people throughout.
Some of its examples are
1. Migraines
2. Tension Headaches
3. Sleep-Related Headaches

Secondary Headaches are indirect and are caused by underlying health condition of the individual.
Examples include:
1. Diabetes
2. Blood Pressure related ailments
3. Fever
4. Eyes Disorders
5. Hormonal Fluctuations
The list is not exclusive.

As you can understand, diabetes is one of the conditions which can trigger a headache and can easily spoil your day.

But why diabetes cause headaches?
Diabetes is a problem of blood sugar, how it can be related to the headaches?

The answer is simple, it is the constant fluctuation of blood sugar in diabetic body which triggers a headache.

Consider a case of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), in which the blood sugar is below 70mg/dl.
If you are diabetic, especially Type 1,  there is a great chance that you might have got into that condition.

Normally, your brain needs glucose for operation and any disturbance in the supply of glucose can affect its operation. This low supply of blood sugar hampers the operation of the brain and can cause a diabetes headache.

On the other hand in Hyperglycemia condition (high blood sugar), our body gets overloaded with glucose and our brain has to work overtime to flush the sugar out (from urine) and make the suitable change in our body, this overwork can also trigger a headache.

Also, diabetic patients with high blood sugar fluctuation (low to high) can also impact the body health and can trigger headaches.

I am a Type 1 diabetic myself and try to maintain normal blood sugar number by following a strict diet control. Recently I did my H1BAC test (08/12/2018) and the result was 4.4%.
The results are good and I give all the credit to my low carb diet plan.

But being diabetic, I must confess that I am prone to diabetes headache.
I now get irritated easily and now have zero tolerance of noise.
I understand that this may be due to my disease, but i am taking every measure to manage it properly.


There are various other reasons for a headache, the list given below is not exhaustive and is not personalized for certain individuals, these factors may or may not affect every person.
Other Reason for Diabetes Headaches includes:

1. Low Vitamin D Level
In a research it was found that person with low levels of Vitamin D are prone to severe migraine condition. It is interesting to observe the diverse importance of Vitamin D apart from the common known application of keeping our bones strong.
Apart from a diabetes headache, it was also found that people with a low level of Vitamin D are prone to suffer from Type1/Type 2 diabetes, you can read the article by clicking the below link.

Vitamin D and Diabetes Link

I will suggest to do a blood test and check your Vitamin D level. This will help you to figure out the appropriate plan for your body.


2.Artificial Fragrance
Some individuals (including me) have a low tolerance for artificial perfumes or sprays.
I remember how my head starts pounding as soon as I travel with my father in his car. My father is fond of perfumes which used to give me a headache every time I drove with him.

I understood that perfumes trigger a headache in my body and since childhood, I have never used any deodorant or perfume just because of that reason.

3. Loud Noises
It’s been found that people living in high nose area are prone to get high blood pressure and heart problems.

4. Other Notable Factors includes:
a. Dehydration
b. Bright Light
c. Prescribed Medication
d. High Work Load

Measures to Control

1. The most effective measure is to take control of your diet.
I cannot stress enough on the fact that diabetes can no longer eat the regular normal diet. Diabetics have to exclude food that is high in carbohydrate otherwise it will be difficult to manage this condition.
2. Check your blood sugar regularly
Buy a glucometer and check your blood sugar at least 3 times a day.
I personally know some diabetics who don’t have this device and they rely on local medical laboratories for checking their blood sugar once a month.

In India, this simple glucometer device is not accessible to the common population due to its high price. Infact the high cost of glucometer strips makes it difficult for the general population to do blood sugar test multiple times a day.

One way to hande this situation is shun foods that are low in carbohydrates.
This will make blood sugar management a lot easier and you will not feel the need to test the blood sugar multiple times.

Consider my own case, i used to test the blood sugar 3-4 times a day during my diabetes diagnosis. Purchasing those strips was creating a great dent on my monthly budget.
But as soon as I started with the strict diet, i have limited my testing once a day because now with experience i can guess my blood sugar.
3. Avoid a diabetes headache inducing foods
There are foods which are known to induce a headache among individuals. The list is not personalized for any individual, you have to figure out the foods which are triggering diabetes headache in your body.
Some of these foods are:
a. Foods containing caffeine like tea, coffee, chocolates
b. Fermented foods like Pickles, aged cheese
c. Alcohol
d. Artificial Sweeteners
e. Foods containing Artificial Sweeteners like bakery items, Puddings, jams etc
f.  Foods with high Preservative content like Frozen Foods, Packed Meat etc


Possible Remedies
If you are having headaches, following strategies can  help you give relief

1. Drink Lemon Water
This will keep you hydrates along with maintaining optimum acid-alkaline balance in the body

2. Apply Cold pack on your forehead for 15 Minutes
Ice has a numbing effect and it constricts the transfer of pain to the brain.
But don’t overdo this as it can damage your skin

3. Eating Ginger
Ginger has anti-inflammatory property. It helps in the relaxation of blood vessels and reduces the pain.
If you don’t like eating, you can steep the ginger in boiling water.

I hope you have a better understanding of a diabetes headache and will take suitable steps to control this menace.
One important this for a diabetic which I can’t stress enough is that they need to focus on their diet. Diet is the main culprit of all the diabetes complication.
If you able to manage your diet, let me assure you that half of your daily health battle is won.

I hope you like the article and if you do, share it among the diabetic community and help raise awareness about this growing sugar menace.
Further Read 
Problems of Metformin Tablets
The link between Magnesium and Sleep
How to bring down blood sugar fast


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