Hypoglycemia and Headaches
What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia refers to a medical condition where a person experiences below normal low blood sugar level. It occurs when the sugar level of the body drops to 70 milligrams per deciliter. This condition is responsible for headaches and aggravating migraines. Other than headaches, hypoglycemia also triggers:
- increased hunger
There are a few triggering factors of hypoglycemia, one of which is diabetes. Commonly, the condition happens because of the medication used in treating diabetes. These medications are in the form of insulin and sulfonylureas. Other than diabetes, fasting is also a major cause of the condition. When someone fasts and does not eat enough food, the glucose levels of the body drop. Remember that the body uses glucose as the main source of energy. Lack of glucose means lack of energy for daily use.
Aside from diabetes, there are other triggering factors of hypoglycemia. Some of these include (1) excessive alcohol consumption, (2) the pancreas producing more than enough insulin, and (3) long-term illnesses, such as kidney disease.
How is Hypoglycemia Associated with Headaches?
Hypoglycemia can cause headaches, usually accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, confusion, irritability, and vision problems. When the body’s glucose level drops to a low point, it can also trigger a migraine. A migraine is described as severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. Some of the symptoms accompanied by this condition are nausea, vomiting, and intense sensitivity to light and sound. The condition can last for several hours. However, pain-relieving medications are available to treat it.
As hypoglycemia is triggered by low blood sugar levels, the same is for headaches and migraines. When the body’s sugar level falls too low, headache and migraine attacks are inevitable. Hypoglycemia-induced headaches require a healthy diet and proper diabetes management. This way, the blood glucose level is controlled, preventing the condition from getting worse that may cause severe health dilemmas.
Treatment and Prevention
As part of the treatment and prevention program with regards to eliminating the severe effects of hypoglycemia, consider the following:
- Consume fast-acting carbohydrates – at least 15 to 20 grams
- After consuming fast-acting carbohydrates, recheck your blood glucose levels – should be done 15 minutes following the treatment
- Stabilize your blood sugar level by consuming a snack or meal
- Do not miss your breakfast
- Do not skip your meals
- Eat foods that are rich in fibre, such as hard-boiled eggs, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, nuts, sardines, tuna, apple with peanut butter, and a vegetable smoothie
- Minimize eating cakes or ice cream
- Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes
- Minimize alcohol consumption
- Avoid getting stressed
- Get enough sleep and relaxation
- Drink a lot of water in a day
Following the preventive measures listed above can save you from experiencing hypoglycemia-induced conditions, such as headache and migraine. But aside from that, getting consulted by your doctor is still the best way to know your risk for the disease and get the proper treatment. Staying healthy and being mindful of your whole well-being is necessary to living healthily.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.