diabetes, type 2 diabetes, headaches

5 Ways Diabetes Can Trigger Headaches

Do you have type 2 diabetes and suffer from frequent headaches? There are several reasons this might be occurring. Stay in tune with your body to see when you feel dehydrated and when you seem to frequently get headaches. Here are the top five reasons you might be suffering from headaches with diabetes, according to Diabetes Self-Management.

High blood sugar

Hyperglycemia happens when blood glucose levels rise above 180 mg/dl. In order to avoid bouts of high blood sugar, be sure to stay on top of taking your medications as prescribed. Also follow a healthy diet of eating foods that are low-carb and high in protein and fiber. Make sure to get regular exercise, even simply taking a walk during the day or after dinner. Stressful events such as surgery or an accident can also cause spikes in blood sugar. Monitor your levels and adjust medications as needed. Besides headaches, high blood sugar can also cause thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurred vision.


Low blood sugar

Hypoglycemia occurs when you blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dl. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include sweating, shaking, dizziness, and confusion. If you suffer from low blood sugar, check your levels and eat a healthy snack that contains approximately 15 grams of carbs.   


High blood pressure

Many people with diabetes also suffer from high blood pressure. Hypertension over a period of time can cause headaches. If your blood pressure remains too high, it could cause serious health problems such as stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease. To regulate your blood pressure, be sure to take medications as prescribed. Also avoid smoking, get regular exercise, cut back on alcohol and sodium, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. You may want to keep tabs on your blood pressure with a home blood pressure monitor.   


Sleep problems

Another common issue people with diabetes face is sleep problems, specifically sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing gasping, snoring, and pauses in breathing. If not regulated, sleep apnea can become a serious health problem. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, dry mouth, sleepiness, irritability, and headaches in the morning.

Unfortunately, sleep apnea and diabetes are a vicious cycle. People with sleep apnea are more likely to have diabetes, and vice versa. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may need to wear a mouthpiece or CPAP machine at night, as well as make lifestyle changes.   

Poor eating and drinking habits

Food and drink can also be a major cause of headaches. Try to avoid foods that trigger headaches for you. A wise choice might be to keep a food diary, where you record which foods seem to lead to your headaches. In many cases, the culprits are caffeine, alcohol, certain cheeses, MSG, nitrites, dark chocolate, citrus, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. However, triggers will be different for each person. As a person with diabetes, it is good to stay away from sugary drinks and high-carb foods. 

Other causes of frequent headaches

If these aren’t the causes for your headaches, other causes could be sinus infections, medications, stress, dehydration, anemia, hormone issues, or changes in sleeping and waking times. See a doctor to figure out what might be causing your headaches.

Type 2 diabetes and headaches are a frequent match. But as long as you manage your symptoms and make lifestyle changes, you should feel better and have less headaches in no time.