How To Keep Low
Test your blood glucose level. There are many possible causes of headaches. To check whether yours is caused by low blood sugar, the best way is to get a test. You can get a reading of your blood glucose level either through your family physician or with an inexpensive blood glucose meter.
Avoid foods with high glycemic load. These foods are converted into glucose quickly and will spike the blood sugar quickly. Glycemic load is a better gauge than glycemic index of the impact of a particular food on blood glucose level as it takes into consideration the amount of carbohydrate. If you are trying to maintain a stable blood sugar level, avoid foods with glycemic load values above 19. You can find a pretty comprehensive list of foods with their glycemic load values here.
Choose complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits and whole grains have lower glycemic load compared to highly processed white flour based products and sugars. That means, they will break down more slowly and release glucose more gradually and steadily into the bloodstream.
What other ways do you use to prevent low blood sugar level from giving you headaches? Share with us in the comments. Thanks!
What Causes A Headache
There are over 100 different types of headaches, but some of the most common include:
- Tension headaches: These are some of the most common types of headaches, and, as the name indicates, they are due to any sort of stress or tension a person might be experiencing. They usually go away when the source of the tension disappears.
- Migraines: Migraines are intense headaches that can last several hours. They are often accompanied by a feeling of pounding or throbbing pain, as well as sensitivity to light, noise, smells, or nausea among others.
- Cluster headaches: The pain that defines cluster headaches is a burning or pinching feeling, usually concentrated behind an eye. They can last from 15 minutes to three hours, and can cause redness, eye drooping or reduced pupil size.
- Sinus headaches: These headaches often cause pain in the cheekbones and forehead, and can feel like they come from a source deep within the face.
- Hormone headaches: People who experience drastic hormone changes can feel headaches as their body tries to adjust. This can be due to periods, pregnancy, menopause, insulin resistance and more.
The pain itself can be caused by signals that come from the brain, the blood vessels and the nerves in your head, but researchers and medical doctors arent exactly sure what triggers it.
Is Your Headache Due To Too Much Blood Sugaror Too Little
The of a blood sugar headache feels the same whether its triggered by too much blood glucose or too little. How can you tell the difference?
The best way to approach this is to review what youve eaten for the day. A headache caused by hypoglycemia often comes on suddenly, after not eating for an extended period of time.;
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
Conversely, a headache due to can occur after eating a large meal that included lots of carbohydrates or sugar. In this case, you might initially feel very drowsy after eating, followed by a serious headache. Later, your blood sugar level might crash as the body produces large quantities of insulin to cope with the excessive amount of glucose in your blood. This can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes.;
People who take insulin for diabetes should be particularly mindful of headaches, as they can signal excessive insulin levels in the bloodstream. If you develop a , check your blood glucose levels as soon as possible and respond accordingly.
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First Up How To Tell If Its A Diabetes
When youre not staying on top of your diabetes, it can cause your blood sugar to drop too low or climb too high. Both of these problems are triggers for headaches. Having a headache itself isnt harmful, but it could be a sign that your blood sugar isnt where it should be.
How exactly do blood sugar levels lead to head pain, though? Lets take a closer look at the culprits.
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, happens when your blood glucose levels drop below where they need to be. It can happen if you skip a meal or if you inject too much insulin.
Its also possible for your blood glucose to dip if you eat something with too many carbs, since the sudden spike in blood sugar can lead to an unhealthy drop after the body tries to compensate.
Usually hypoglycemia-related headaches come on quickly as your blood sugar takes a nosedive. Basically, the brain needs a steady supply of glucose to function. If you dont have enough glucose in your bloodstream to give the brain what it needs, you can end up with a throbbing headache.
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, may occur when your blood glucose levels get too high usually at least over 180 mg/dL or 10 mmol/L.
If you have diabetes and are insulin-resistant or arent producing or injecting enough insulin, the glucose from your food cant be absorbed by your cells for energy. That causes the glucose to build up in your bloodstream, which then leads to high blood sugar.
The Hypoglycemic Connection To Migraines
Since hypoglycemia affects the brain first, most symptoms begin there. For those prone to them, migraines are often the result of fasting, eating high-sugar foods, or skipping meals. Sometimes delayed or irregular meals can create the conditions for a migraine to occur.
In fact, several of the symptoms of hypoglycemia are also harbingers of an approaching migraine: pallor, yawning, sweating, craving sweets, and mood changes . However, other hormones may be released due to the stress of fasting, dehydration, or lack of sleep that are indirect causes of migraines or headaches.
Strangely enough, migraines caused by hypoglycemia may not be accompanied by other typical migraine symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light or sound.
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Why Do We Get Migraines To Begin With
For the unlucky 10 percent of people that get migraines, Im sure the question often is Why Me? as they think about ramming their head repeatedly against a wall. I obviously cant tell you specifically, but I do have a list of causes. See if any seem to relate to your situation and if so, maybe you can head some things off before they start.
- Stress can be a cause. Migraines can start as a stress headache and then once the wheels get moving it goes to full blown migraine in no time.
- Alcohol consumption can cause some people to develop migraines.
- Allergies can set off a;chain reaction that develops into a migraine.
- Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can also cause a migraine to start.
- The most common cause seems to be dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. That is a sure way to feel sluggish and if you are already prone to migraines, you could be leading your body to a huge headache
How To Avoid Sugar Headaches
Whether you have diabetes or not, you can manage your diet to avoid developing a headache after sugar consumption. Try these strategies:
Avoid sugar binges. Remember that sugar exists in many foodsand in alcohol. To avoid a sugar headache, dont binge on candy, desserts or cocktails.
Drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration can help your body eliminate excessive glucose from the bloodstream.
Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones. Simple carbohydrates like refined grains, potatoes and table sugar cause insulin levels to spike, which can lead to headache. To avoid that, aim to eat more complex carbohydrates like fresh vegetables and whole grains. Complex carbs take longer to digest and dont dramatically raise insulin levels.
Reduce your sugar consumption gradually. Taper off sugary drinks, for example, instead of quitting cold turkey. This approach will allow your brain and blood vessels to adapt to the change in glucose levels.
Track your carbohydrate and sugar consumption, either formally or informally. People with should precisely track all the simple and complex carbs they consume throughout the day to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Others can use a dietary app for this purpose, or simply limit the amount of simple carbohydrates you eat with each meal.
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How Insulin Resistance Impacts Migraine
Before diving into the specific mechanisms of how insulin resistance relates to migraine, its important to understand how hypothalamic dysfunction may play a role in migraine onset. Some research suggests that triggers related to the hypothalamussuch as hunger, temperature, erratic sleep, or other disturbancesmay help initiate the series of events that trigger a migraine. Theres debate over the precise sequence of events, but researchers believe that networks in the trigeminovascular system become dysfunctional and release chemicals that activate pain signals.;
Researchers also arent entirely clear yet how insulin resistance fits into this migraine physiology, but here are some theories that have emerged from studies:;;
What Is A Sugar Headache
Reducing the amount of sugar you consume usually isnt a bad idea. Eating refined grains or foods with added sugars provides almost no nutritive value and can raise your risk of developing . But most people know that abruptly eliminating sugar from the diet can trigger headachessometimes called sugar withdrawal or a sugar headache. What causes a headache from sugar withdrawal? Get the facts about how too littleor too muchsugar in your bloodstream can cause your head to throb.
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Migraines May Protect Against Type 2 Diabetes
But maybe there is some good news. A recent study suggests that, at least in women, having a diagnosis of active migraine is somewhat protective against the development of type 2 diabetes. In this study, which followed nearly 75,000 women for 10 years, women with active migraine were 20% to 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the course of the study than women with no history of migraine. In addition, if the migraine condition improved and the headaches lessened, the chances of developing diabetes went up. This supports the notion that migraine is protective against developing diabetes, and this is not simply a chance association.
Headache specialists had long observed that their migraine patient populations did not develop diabetes as frequently as the general population, so this finding was not entirely unexpected. The reason for this relationship, though, remains unclear; after all, what could it be about having a headache that could make your blood sugar and insulin function improve? Looked at the other way around, one consideration could be that elevated blood sugar levels are somehow protective against developing a headache. Yet another explanation may have to do with CGRP, a protein molecule in the body that is active in both conditions and may be the factor that links them.
Key Points About Caffeine And Migraines
- Caffeine affects pain.
- Acute treatment of headaches with caffeine is sometimes effective but should be limited to not more than two days per week.
- For people who experience migraine, caffeine taken three or more days per week, for whatever reason, may lead to dependency and increased migraine frequency.
- For those who have frequent headaches, avoidance of all caffeine is ideal, and at least until improvement in headache frequency is seen.
Migraine;patients often report that a strong cup of coffee can stop some attacks. This is not surprising to hear. Caffeine is a key active ingredient in many headache medications including ExcedrinTM, AnacinTM, MidolTM, Darvon CompoundTM, FioricetTM, and MigranalTM. Caffeine may aid in the bodys absorption of these medicines, but can caffeine itself relieve headaches? Few research studies have examined this question, but the answer appears to be yes. Caffeine can provide some headache relief. For example, one small controlled study found that caffeine was better than placebo, and as good as acetaminophen, in relieving tension-type headaches.
We dont fully understand the mechanisms underlying the different effects of caffeine on the brain. However, the specific targets of action of caffeine in the brain and nerves outside the brain are known.
Robert E. Shapiro, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Neurology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT.
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How I Finally Found Migraine Relief After Cutting My Sugar Intake
Abigail Libers had near-daily migraines for yearsuntil she tried a low-carb diet. The blood sugar and migraine connection, explained
Ive suffered from migraines for more than 20 years. Like many migraineurs, the pain and frequency of my migraines increased during the pandemic. By November 2020, Id gone from getting a migraine a few times a week to having one every single day. No amount of medication eased the pain, and as each excruciating day blurred into the next, I became desperate for relief.;
After some digging, I found a book that stressed the importance of cutting back on carbs and sugar to prevent migraine attacks. I decided to give it a shot. To my surprise, within six weeks, I saw a dramatic improvement in my symptoms. I started going weeks at a time without a migraine, and when I did get one, it was far less severe than it had been in the past.;
I didnt realize it at the time, but I had taken a critical step in improving my metabolic health: By reducing the glucose load on my body, Id decreased the role of insulin, which is closely linked to migraine.;
Make This Magic Migraine Potion
You need three things: water, lemon juice from a lemon, and two teaspoons of salt.;Combine the ingredients and drink. Wait a few minutes.
Things that you should keep in mind when choosing ingredients include that the salt should be of good quality. Pink Himalayan sea salt is a good one due to the 80 different trace minerals that it contains Eating salt quickly is proven to raise levels of serotonin. That helps to quell pain and inflammation.
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What Are Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are manufactured sugar substitutes. Some artificial sweeteners like sucralose are made from sugar itself, while others come from plants like stevia. Artificial sweeteners tend to be much sweeter than sugar, which means you only need a little bit to sweeten things like coffee or baked goods, and they are almost calorie free. This makes artificial sweeteners very appealing to people trying to decrease their actual sugar intake or those seeking to eat fewer calories. A few other artificial sweeteners include aspartame and saccharin.
Can I Get A Headache After Eating Sugar Or Fasting From Sugar
Dr.;Danielle;Weiss is the founder of;Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences. Dr. Weiss is Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.;
Our body needs a certain amount of sugar to function. It converts the sugar we eat into glucose, which provides energy to cells. If your blood glucose level becomes too high or too low, it can affect hormones that cause the blood vessels in the brain to constrict or dilate, leading to a headache. When the headache is caused by too much sugar in the blood , it is often called a sugar headache. On the other hand, when it’s a result of too little sugar , it’s referred to as a sugar withdrawal headache. There is a sweet spot when it comes to sugar intake. These headaches commonly affect individuals with diabetes, but it can also occur in people without the condition.
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A Juicy Slice Of Watermelon Can Head Off Dehydration Which Is Often A Factor In Headaches And Migraine Attacks
If youre living with migraine, you probably know that certain foods and drinks can trigger an attack. But even though its important to know what to avoid, focusing on the foods to add to your diet matters, too: It may help reduce the number or severity of migraine attacks or other types of headaches.
Food really is the first medicine, says Wynne Brown, MD, the medical director of integrative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. When youre trying to manage migraine, what you eat and when you eat can make all the difference, she says.
Being open to change in your diet is a good start, says Dr. Brown. Often, we can get in a rut and eat the same things over and over. By adding different fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet, we can reap benefits in terms of water content as well as vitamins and minerals, she says.
A diet with a variety of good foods will make a big difference both in migraine management and overall health and may improve imbalances that contribute to headaches, says Brown.
If youre looking for ways to change your diet to better manage your migraine, here are some expert tips on the foods and drinks to help you on your journey.
Why Does Sweetness Cause Such Pain
Shakespeare probably pondered this as he was writing Romeo and Juliet. And just as he was perplexed by the joyous agony of true love, we wanna know why sugar is such a wiley b*tch sometimes.
First of all, when we say sugar as in, Good god, this sugar headache makes me regret my choice to eat a sleeve of Oreos in one sitting were talking about added sugar. Added sugar is just what it sounds like, its sugar thats added to foods.
Why does this matter? Well, many foods have naturally occurring sugars, like fruits and dairy. When you eat a piece of fruit or some plain Greek yogurt, youre getting some sugar, but the fiber or protein in the food helps balance the effects of the glucose.
When you eat something with lots of added sugar , the lack of fiber, protein, or other good stuff with nutritional value means the sugar hits your bloodstream, causes a spike in glucose, also known as blood sugar, and off you go to headache town.
Radical dips and spikes in blood sugar are the main cause of sugar headaches. Your body actually runs, not on Dunkin, but on sugar .
We need a steady supply of glucose for energy and our brains in particular need glucose to make sure the body can function. When theres a sudden change in glucose levels, our brains are the first to feel the effects.
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