Dizziness and Diabetes

This article tries to explore the relationship between dizziness and diabetes. People diagnosed with diabetes and their family members, need to know that dizziness is one of main symptoms of diabetes, which needs immediate treatment. Read on, to know the causes of dizziness experienced by diabetics, and how dizziness is treated...
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Carbohydrates are the main source of glucose which is converted into energy by body cells during metabolism. Consumption of food leads to increased blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, encourages the body cells to absorb the glucose from blood, and thus it regulates the blood sugar levels. If sufficient insulin is not produced by the pancreas, or if the cells become immune to insulin, high blood glucose levels are noticed. This condition is referred to as diabetes. If the question 'is dizziness a symptom of diabetes', is lurking in your mind, then the simple answer to this question is 'yes'.
Dizziness and Blood Sugar levels
The condition wherein elevated blood sugar levels are noticed is termed as hyperglycemia. Low blood sugar levels are referred to as hypoglycemia. Blood sugar level fluctuations can be severe in diabetics than in normal healthy people. Also, both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia can lead to dizziness.
Hypoglycemia: A person diagnosed with diabetes can have low blood glucose levels if he/she consumes excessive medicines (insulin injections or oral tablets), if he/she skips breakfast /meal. Hypoglycemia can be experienced as a side effect of certain medicines. Diabetic neuropathy is the term used to describe damaged nerves due to diabetes. Diabetic autonomic neuropathy can lead to rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, dizziness and blacking out when the person stands up quickly. Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially on an empty stomach, can cause hypoglycemia, which leads to confusion and dizziness (lightheadedness).
Continuous and sufficient supply of glucose to the brain is essential for its proper functioning. Interrupted or insufficient supply of glucose to the brain results in dizziness and diabetes symptoms like nervousness, shakiness, confusion, profuse sweating, weakness, anxiety, sleepiness, fainting and difficulty in speaking. Friends and family members of a diabetic person need to know about these symptoms, because they need to give him / her sugar or sugar containing foods immediately. Prompt medical treatment includes giving of a glucagon injection. This treatment helps save the life of the patient, otherwise the person may suffer from seizures and may go into a coma. Severe hypoglycemia can even lead to death.
Hypoglycemia can be experienced during sleep. The person may have nightmares and may cry out loud. His clothes or even the sheets may become damp due to excessive perspiration. The person may exhibit increased irritability. He may look confused and excessively tired after waking up. The family members need to watch for these symptoms.
While insulin helps lower high blood sugar levels, glucagon, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps increase the blood glucose levels when they fall below normal levels. Glucagon promotes breaking down of glycogen in the liver, which helps release glucose in blood. In some people, impaired glucagon response is responsible for hypoglycemia. Diabetic people should check their medicines and should learn to adjust medications according to the changes in their schedule or routine.
Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia or high blood glucose levels is also one of the common causes of dizziness. If the pancreas are not able to produce sufficient insulin, blood glucose levels remain elevated. In case of insulin resistance developed by body cells, high blood glucose levels are noticed. In type 2 diabetes (diabetes due to insulin resistance), the pancreas trie to produce more and more insulin to control the blood sugar levels. As a result, the blood sugar levels drop down. Severe fluctuations in the blood sugar levels lead to imbalance of hormones. Moreover, capacity of the pancreas is limited. Overwork eventually leads to dysfunction of the pancreas. Inadequacy of insulin results in high blood glucose levels.
Hyperglycemia can cause dehydration and anaerobic metabolism. It can lead to changes in the acid-base balance (serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis). High blood sugar levels in the body affect several metabolic functions, and can result in fainting and dizziness. High blood sugar levels may exhibit symptoms like dry mouth, excessive thirst, blurred vision, fatigue and dizziness. Very high sugar levels may lead to breathing difficulty, unconsciousness or coma.
A person diagnosed with diabetes needs to take medicines as instructed by the doctor. He should follow a low glycemic diet, and should exercise regularly. Diet and exercise help control the fluctuating blood sugar levels. Symptoms of dizziness and diabetes are treated with diabetic medicines. If the symptoms are mild, then one can prevent dizziness by controlling the blood sugar levels with certain lifestyle changes and dietary alterations.