Does Diabetes Cause Dizziness?

Dizzy spells may be terrifying. You may get the sensation that the room is spinning or that you are ready to pass out. If you stand up too soon after sitting or lying down for a time, you may feel dizzy. Your body is unaccustomed to the rapid shift in blood flow and requires some time to acclimatize. These episodes might be particularly frightening if they occur while driving or going upstairs. If you are a diabetic and are feeling dizzy, you should be aware that there are many probable explanations.

Low blood sugar

Low blood sugar levels are often accompanied by dizziness (1). Food is broken down into glucose when you consume it. When the pancreas detects glucose in the blood, it secretes the hormone insulin. Insulin aids your body’s digestion and use of sugar for energy. If you don’t eat for a time, your blood sugar levels might fall dangerously low, causing dizziness. When your blood sugar levels fall, your body lacks the energy it needs to perform correctly. This might cause you to feel dizzy or off-balance. You may feel dizzy in addition to other symptoms such as perspiration, disorientation, or heart palpitations. Low blood sugar may also induce trembling, anxiety, and tingling in your lips. You might potentially pass out (1).

If you feel you have low blood sugar levels, you should check them and consult a doctor if they are regularly less than 70 mg/dL. Low blood sugar levels must be addressed since they may lead to significant problems such as seizures or coma if left untreated (2).

Having said that, sipping some fruit juice or eating a tablespoon of honey will assist boost your blood sugar levels and reduce dizziness. It is a good idea to monitor your blood sugar level after eating anything sweet; if it rises, it is a good idea to take a little snack. This is because the juice or honey will only momentarily elevate your blood sugar. To prevent another blood sugar fall, you must maintain consistent blood sugar levels (3). So, the next time you feel a bit dizzy, seek a snack, and don’t worry!

Dizziness

High blood sugar

High blood sugar levels are also associated with dizziness. Hyperglycemia is the medical term for this condition, which happens when there is more than 250mg of glucose per decilitre of blood (4). Too much sugar in your blood may be caused by a variety of factors, including insufficient insulin production by the pancreas, consuming too much sugar, or eating a meal high in processed carbs. Insulin resistance may also contribute to it. Insulin aids cells in absorbing glucose, which they need for energy. However, when they are resistant to insulin, this does not occur; the glucose remains in the bloodstream, and the pancreas generates even more insulin to adjust the blood sugar levels (5).

All of this sugar in your blood and high insulin levels might cause your blood pressure to rise, making you dizzy (6). This is due to the huge quantity of insulin produced interfering with the function of nitric oxide, which plays a vital part in blood pressure monitoring and reduction (7).

Dehydration

High blood sugar levels may also result in dehydration, which can induce dizziness. Dehydration is caused by high blood sugar because the body tries to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood by excreting it via urine. During this process, the body loses water, which causes dehydration.

The body needs sufficient water to maintain proper blood volume. When the body loses water, blood volume and pressure fall, which implies that the brain has difficulty getting the oxygen it requires, which is transported in the blood; as a result, you may have dizziness, lightheadedness, and weakness (8). Drinking lots of fluids, ideally, water is another thing to do if you’re feeling dizzy or light-headed.

Vestibular dysfunction

Diabetes may lead to a number of major health issues. However, vestibular impairment is one of diabetes’s lesser-known consequences. This might result in dizziness and balance issues. Vestibular dysfunction arises when high blood sugar levels disrupt the vestibular system in the inner ear, which is crucial for our sense of balance (9). (10). This may result in a range of symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and difficulty walking or standing. Vestibular dysfunction may potentially cause falls and injury in extreme circumstances. If you have diabetes and are suffering from balance issues or dizziness, you should contact your doctor right away so that you may be properly evaluated and treated.

Medication

Diabetes needs careful attention to nutrition, exercise, and medicine, as everyone who has the illness knows. Metformin is a typical diabetic drug that helps to manage blood sugar levels (11). However, metformin may have certain negative effects, such as dizziness (12). The precise mechanism by which metformin produces dizziness is unknown; however, it is believed to be connected to the drug’s effect on blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels go too low, it may produce dizziness and lightheadedness. These symptoms may disappear within a few minutes in certain circumstances. However, if they continue or worsen, it is critical to seek medical assistance. Though dizziness is a possible side effect of metformin, it is crucial to note that the treatment has been proven safe and effective for most diabetics.

Sulfonylureas, which help reduce blood sugar by encouraging the pancreas to generate more insulin, are another diabetic medicine that may induce dizziness as a side effect. These drugs may produce low blood sugar, which might cause dizziness (13). Thiazolidinediones are another kind of diabetic treatment that boost cells’ sensitivity to insulin. These drugs may also induce low blood sugar, which causes dizziness (14).

Finally, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are anti-diabetic medications that operate by decreasing carbohydrate digestion. They do not produce low blood sugar levels or dizziness on their own. However, since they are often used with sulfonylureas, they might cause hypoglycemia and dizziness (15). If you are taking any of these drugs and are experiencing dizziness, see your doctor.

High or low blood sugar levels, dehydration, or diabetes medicine may all produce dizziness. It is so readily corrected by checking blood sugar levels, drinking extra water, or requesting a medication review from your doctor. However, if you have dizziness on a frequent basis, it might be an indication of more severe health issues, so consult a doctor immediately soon. Dizziness treatment may differ based on the reason, but it is critical to bring the condition under control to prevent future health concerns.

References

  1. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/low-blood-sugar-hypoglycaemia/
  2. Insulin Shock vs. Diabetic Coma https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/insulin-shock-diabetic-coma
  3. Warning Signs and Treatment Options for Insulin Shock https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/insulin-shock
  4. Blood Glucose Monitoring https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555976/
  5. Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance
  6. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/
  7. Are Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure Related? https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/diabetes/can-blood-sugar-affect-blood-pressure
  8. Lightheaded? Top 5 reasons you might feel woozy https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/lightheaded-top-5-reasons-you-might-feel-woozy
  9. Vestibular Dysfunction https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558926/
  10. Impact of Diabetic Complications on Balance and Falls: Contribution of the Vestibular System https://academic.oup.com/ptj/article/96/3/400/2889340
  11. About metformin https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/metformin/about-metformin/
  12. Metformin and Type 2 Diabetes https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/metformin-side-effects
  13. What Are Sulfonylureas? https://www.everydayhealth.com/sulfonylureas/guide/
  14. How safe is the use of thiazolidinediones in clinical practice? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19236215/
  15. Alpha Glucosidase Inhibitors https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557848

 

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