Hypoglycemia is a major cause of migraine headaches and blood sugar problems, according to Collene Lawhorn for About.com. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when glucose levels in the blood drop below 70 milligrams per deciliter.
Hypoglycemia can trigger a migraine headache; some migraine sufferers report a craving for carbohydrates shortly before the onset of a migraine, possibly indicating the body is attempting to regulate its own blood sugar and prevent the headache, explains Lawhorn. Migraine headaches caused by hypoglycemia generally produce such symptoms as increased heart rate, nervousness and fatigue, rather than typical migraine symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
In addition to triggering migraine headaches, hypoglycemia can produce other serious symptoms, including confusion, dizziness and weakness, and can lead to unconsciousness and coma, states Lawhorn. This condition can be caused by fasting; excessive consumption of alcohol; and problems with the kidneys, pancreas and endocrine system. Hypoglycemia is also associated with diabetes, often occurring as a result of a person taking too much insulin or other diabetes medications.
Preventing blood sugar levels from falling too low is the best way to avoid hypoglycemia-induced migraine headaches. Health care professionals recommend that people who suffer from hypoglycemia eat smaller and more frequent meals, go no more than three hours without eating and limit consumption of alcohol and foods containing sugar, notes Lawhorn.