What to do when you get head aches from low blood sugar levels?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MarkHastings, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I've been trying to cut back on my eating habits, but my low blood-sugar levels always cause me to seek out substance rather than healthy snacks. The thing is, I love healthy food and can live without the crap, but the crap food is the only thing that keeps me from getting massive headaches from the drop in my blood sugar levels.

    Anyone else been able to beat this? What's the best/healthiest thing to eat when I get these headaches? I've tried fruit but that doesn't seem to help.

    I've looked into the appetite suppressants, but man, there are SO many out there, and SO many that cause liver damage. [​IMG]

    Are there any that are safe???
     
  2. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    When this happens to me (I have low blood sugar to start with) I usually aim for something with some protein in it (like some beef jerky), rather than something with sugar in it (like fruit). Your body will react to the sugar in the fruit by releasing more insulin, which will cause your blood sugar to drop even lower...
     
  3. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    My wife is considered pre-diabetic, and she was told if her blood sugar goes down she should eat some jelly beans to boost it up quickly.

    Paul
     
  4. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Ack! So you're saying to eat sugar? Now I'm confused [​IMG]

    I wonder if they make Beef Jerky Jelly Beans? [​IMG]
     
  5. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    Mark,

    In these classes we took for diabetecs, we were told that if you are having a problem with keeping blood sugar up for a short period of time that the quickest way to do it was jelly beans. I know you want more of a healthy alternative for keeping it up. This question was asked several times in class regarding a healthy way to get the blood sugar back up quickly, but the nurses giving the class said that most of these alternatives take longer to get into the blood stream and due to the health implications due to low blood sugar, that eating the jelly beans would digress the problem more quickly.

    The nurses were fine with alternatives when it comes to the long term treatment of blood sugar levels.

    I hope this explains where I was coming from [​IMG]

    Paul
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Gottcha. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of Jelly beans, but if they work, I'll give it a go.

    As far as the long term alternatives, what were the suggestions? I can usually tell a few hours in advance when a headache is coming on. Is a few hours still not fast enough for an alternative?
     
  7. Michael Varacin

    Michael Varacin Stunt Coordinator

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    Are you sure the headaches are not coming from caffine withdraw?

    If I've had a day where I drank a couple of soft drinks, then switch back to all water the next day, I go through a short withdraw that includes headaches.

    It also could just simply be from de-hydration. Not enough water will cause headaches as well.
     
  8. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure of the correct name of this product, but there is a tablet you can suck on that is supposed to work well. I'll have to ask my wife the exact name of it, she has all the info.

    I'm not sure if your diabetic or not, but at the point of the jelly bean being used is when your hands are shaking and your feeling light headed. If you getting headaches long before any of these other symptoms, the alternative food would probably work great for you.

    I found this on the web.

    organic food website

    Paul
     
  9. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Assuming your insulin production and usage is correct, I don't think it works that way. Then again, if you're overweight, and have been for some time, you're probably well into insulin resistant behavior, anyway.

    If you need your blood sugar up, then have a glass of orange juice. This is the "ole standby" for every diabetic I know (including a few members of my family).

    Are you sure you're not getting dehydrated? Headaches that build over hours are a sure sign. Look at your pee- if it's dark yellow, you need more water.

    Do you eat breakfast? Take a multivitamin supplement?

    I'm not a doctor, so take my advice for what's it worth.
     
  10. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    As well you should be...

    Both techniques will work, but will work differently and have different short/long term effects.

    You can raise your blood sugar REALLY quickly by eating some candy... First-aid treatment for a diabetic going into insulin shock is a candy bar... (if you have ever seen somebody experiencing this, it is terrifying. Think of the drunkest drunk person you can imagine, minus the gregorious personality. It is a bona-fide life-threatening event.) Unless you are diabetic or hypo-glycemic, it is very unlikely your blood sugar is getting THIS low... You didn't mention that you are either (but you might want to get a doctor to confirm that if these problems persist).

    If you have a normally functioning pancreas, when you eat that candy, the raw sugars in it will go directly into your bloodstream within a few minutes of eating them and your blood glucose levels will spike right up to were they should be (or more likely, HIGHER than they should be). This causes you to feel "normal" very quickly... However... Your adrenal system will "see" this sudden influx of glucose and say, "WHOOOOOAAAAA- SUGAR RUSH!!!!" and will dump insulin into your bloodstream to bring it back down. The problem is, because your blood sugar was LOW before, and is just now getting normal when that insulin gets dumped as a sudden reaction to a bunch of raw sugar in the bloodstream, 10 or 20 minutes later, you can sink even further and feel even WORSE than before.

    If you find this happening to you, the better bet is to eat something with low to medium carbohydrates (i.e. high protein) and LOW SUGAR. Your body will digest that food (which takes longer than the sudden rush of raw sugar) and your blood glucose levels will even out on their own over the the next half hour or so, without getting in a war with your adrenal system...
     
  11. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I definitely drink enough fluids throughout the day. I also have enough caffeine. I usually get a large iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts in the morning so today wasn't any different than other mornings.

    Right now, I have a pretty bad headache. I felt it coming on, but I thought I had enough time before I needed to eat, so I waited for lunch. About 30 minutes ago, I felt it coming on strong so I quickly went to the pizza place for a chicken grinder. It helped, but I now have the lingering effects of the headache, which probably won't go away until tomorrow. [​IMG]

    I can also tell when I'm getting one because I start yawning a lot (which I've been doing all morning).

    I know I should get to the Dr., but it doesn't happen often enough to worry me much.
     
  12. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    you can buy flavored glucose tablets at any pharmacy. They contain just enough glucose to bump your blood sugar up quickly if you are having an insulin reaction.


    J
     
  13. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    If you frequently get low blood sugar, then it's almost a given that you have some degree of insulin resistance. Now, you can eat fruit/candy/glucose to raise it up quickly, but because you're IR your blood sugar will drop even lower quicky, leading to another episode. Each jellybean is like 4g carbs so just a few of those and your insulin will be pumping out again. Definitely not what you need.

    As others have said, eat a lot of protein with a small amount of carbs. A glass of milk is good since it has both lactose and plenty of protein. Another idea is half an apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter.

    You may also want to consider changing your diet. There is a great book called The Insulin Resistance Diet. I've been following it for nearly a year and my insulin problems have really cleared up. I'm no longer sleepy after lunch, I no longer get headaches, and I'm overall feeling much much more energized and healthier. It's easy to follow, not super low carb and you still get to eat your favorite foods.

    Getting so hungry, what I call "ravenous" is a sign of low blood sugar. For me it doesn't come on slowly like normal hunger, but all of a sudden. I just must eat something now! Whatever is closest, be it chips, cookies, soda, whatever. Definitely not good! But ever since changing my eating habits this has all subsided. Part of it, though, is being prepared. I know keep a small baggie of almonds in my desk drawer for when I just need something. It really helps because they are healthy and won't make me crash like other high carb snacks.

    I have a tough time with doctors because a lot of them won't recognize insulin resistance, let alone want to test for it. Unless you've gotten so bad you are now diabetic, most doctors won't do anything. The best thing is to help yourself by adjusting your diet.
     
  14. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    You're starting to read like a classic insulin resistant/hypoglycemic person. I'd look into the book Leila mentioned. In fact, I'm going to look into it.[​IMG] Mostly for my wife- she has become a world-class carb-junkie. Given her family history, I am genuinely concerned.

    P.S. you might want to "ease out" of the caffeine hit, too.
     
  15. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    Are you sure the headaches are diet related??? Sure you dont have migraines?
     
  16. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    Thanks to Jeff, this is what I was referring to earlier.

    Paul
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I took an Excedrine Migraine and my headache is much better, so it must have been a "lack of food headache" becuase if it were a migraine, it wouldn't have gone away so quickly.

    Since the excedrine migraine has caffeine (which is why they can say it's a migraine med.) I assumed caffeine was good?
     
  18. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Caffeine helps with some migraine sufferers because it reverses the blood vessel changes that migraines often are caused by.

    However, you could also be experiencing a caffeine withdrawal headache, especially since you had that large coffee in the morning. By taking that Excedrine, you've essentially fed your addiction.

    My suggestion as well is to lay off the caffeine and if you get a headache, try regular ibuprofin. Then try eating and see if that helps. Your problem could be one of the other or it could be a combination of the two. The best way to find out is to experiment.

    As far as that book goes, I just want to warn you that it may come off sounding too "girly". If so, just brush it aside and learn the diet principles. The diet works well for men too. It's just that the book was originally written for women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and insulin resistance is a huge component of it. In any case, the diet still applies men.
     
  19. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I was diagnosed as Hypoglycemic 30 years ago. Didn't get headaches much but did have weakness, sweats, dizziness, etc.

    The answer is to avoid sugars, keep carbs down to 60 grams a day, spaced out over the day. Stay completely off sugar in any form for at least a couple of weeks, eat high protein meals and smallish high protein snacks every couple of hours between meals (you can just keep a can of peanuts around to munch on periodically if you can't take breaks that frequently).

    Sugar puts you on an insulin roller coaster, Proteins metabolize much slower for fewer peaks and valleys. Complex carbs are ok in limited quantities but always have lots of protein at the same meal.

    I had a new glucose tolerance test done about 15 years ago and was no longer hypoglycemic, but I still avoid sugar except for the occasional dish of ice cream, but only after a substantial high protein meal.
    Still only dring diet soda, regular tastes terrible now.
     
  20. Drue Elrick

    Drue Elrick Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd suggest eating low glycemic index carbs more often. They digest slower so you would be able to maintain your blood sugar level for longer. (ie. whole grain breads versus white bread)
     

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