How do headaches affect your blood sugar levels?

I developed a minor tension headache around 8-9 PM last night and chose to try to sleep it off. This doesn’t often work for me, but I’d had wine earlier in the day so I wasn’t eager to take Ibuprofen (I’ve heard having both at once is bad for you).

I woke up around 12:30-1 in a feverish sweat with a migraine from hell along with gastrointestinal distress and vomiting. I took a few ibuprofen at that point and woke up an hour later with the headache nearly gone and other symptoms diminished (though I still vomited). I went back to sleep and slept fine the rest of the night.

All of that was weird, and I don’t really understand what the cause was. However, after the second time I woke up, my blood sugar started rising. Unfortunately, I must’ve rolled onto my Dexcom because I had a loss of signal for the rest of the night. It wasn’t until the morning when I woke up at 250 that I realized there was a problem.

There’s no reason my blood sugar should have gone up like that- especially once I started feeling better! Despite being 250 when I woke up, I felt so much better than I had earlier that I didn’t really believe the Dexcom at first. I double checked on my meter. My dinner contained very little protein/fat- just a little rice and some veggies in curry. I can see the spike on my Dexcom from when most of those carbs must’ve been digested (slightly late Afrezza dose).

Has anyone experienced something similar with really bad headaches?

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So sorry you had such a rough night! :slightly_frowning_face: Are you sure it was “just” a migraine, not a virus? You can get pretty bad headaches with stomach viruses.

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Could be due to cortisol/stress response to pain. Hope you are feeling better!

FYI, Tylenol/acetaminophen is the one you really don’t want to mix with alcohol, because it affects the liver (also why you REALLY do not want to OD on Tylenol or take more than the recommended dose, since it can cause liver damage). Ibuprofen should be ok, and is generally less dangerous in any acute way (mostly potential for GI side effects, so take it with food, and has potential for long term effects if taken very regularly, but it’s much harder to OD on it in a dangerous way).

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I started wondering if I had a virus last night, but I’m inclined to think it was a headache because it only lasted a short time and was effectively treated by ibuprofen.

Thankfully there have been no recurrences today :smile:

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Good to know! Tylenol does nothing for me so no chance of OD’ing there! I think it’s the anti-inflammatory characteristic of ibuprofen that helps me rather than the painkiller aspect. I try to limit its use for the reasons you stated.

I am feeling much better! Extra cortisol/stress may have been the culprit. I’ll have to keep that in mind in case a headache like this happens again.

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Gotcha! I only asked because there’s a virus that’s been going around since Christmas that’s brief but intense! I only threw up once with it (my son, too, and some extended family), but I was in agony for a few hours.

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@Katers87, I also wonder with @Pianoplayer7008, since we have often seen 12-hour and 24-hour viruses. But I could easily believe that headaches alone could cause BG issues.

Per @cardamom, we also avoid acetaminophen as much as possible. Ibuprofen does have some potential kidney impact, so we drink like sieves when taking it, but it’s almost exclusively what we use.

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For what it’s worth, I’m not actually suggesting people avoid acetaminophen, just to be really careful with it, as in not mix with any alcohol and do not exceed the recommended dose (as opposed to ibuprofen and naproxen, where the recommended OTC dose is a joke, and it’s fine to take 2x as much, which is prescription-strength). It’s not really clear though whether the effects of long term use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen are worse. Personally, I used to think ibuprofen was superior for pain because of the anti-inflammatory effects, but I’ve since realized it really depends on the type of pain, and that for some things, acetaminophen is strikingly effective and sometimes more so. Now that I know it doesn’t have that major of an effect on my Dexcom readings, I’m very glad to have it back in my toolbox, and I’m just careful not to drink at all when it’s in my system. Also, for severe pain, you can mix acetaminophen and ibuprofen safely, and that’s definitely way more effective for me than either alone.

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We have not found situations where acetaminophen is more effective, but it may well be due to the fact that we use it rarely:-)

This is primarily how we use acetaminophen. With severe pain, when we are above the 24-hour dose for ibuprofen, we alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen at short intervals, where neither ever gets above max dosage but where you get better pain relief.

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For severe pain, I just dose them at max amounts together, so that I’m doing full ibuprofen (or sometimes naproxen) around the clock and full acetaminophen. The dosing doesn’t line up exactly with ibuprofen, but with naproxen, it does (every 6 hours for acetaminophen, every 12 for naproxen), although I think naproxen doesn’t really last the full 12. I can’t take opiates pretty much at all (they make me vomit profusely), so any pain I have for anything I’m pretty much stuck managing with NSAIDs.

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Both togetherness worked for me for an awful cold. NyQuil and Aleve… wasn’t caring about bg just getting and staying asleep by then.

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I get migraines and often the stress of the pain will send my blood sugar skyrocketing (especially if vomiting is involved). It is definitely something that can happen and could be the cause of your overnight spike. Glad you are feeling better! Jessica

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