Is Dizziness After Eating a Sign of Type 2 Diabetes?

Published on 
May 22, 2024
May 22, 2024
Virta Health
Virta Health
Virta Health

For Virta member Tim F., lightheadedness was a frequent symptom when his diabetes was out of control. 

“I was on three different diabetes medicines that I would take three times a day: in the morning, at noon and at night,” says Tim. “That's a total of six different pills that I was taking. Some were for chronic pain. Some were to help with my joints because it got so bad I could hardly walk. I've had experiences before where I've lost my meds or I didn't have the meds I needed, and I was very dizzy, very lightheaded, and nauseous. These pills just tore me up.”

Thankfully, after joining Virta, Tim’s symptoms dramatically improved. “I'll never forget the moment when my Virta doctor said my A1c was down to 5.8% and I was free of diabetes,” he says. “I was thanking God. It was just a joy. It was a happy moment in my life knowing that I was going to live longer and that I no longer carried those chains.”

Dizziness — also called lightheadedness — can be attributed to many different factors, from your diet to certain medical conditions to the medications you take. If you’ve ever felt lightheaded after a meal, or any other time for that matter, here are some common culprits.

Is dizziness after eating a sign of diabetes?

There are several reasons why you may experience dizziness after eating or at other times:

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Low blood sugar occurs when your blood glucose is below the normal range. Having low blood sugar can lead to dizziness. Taking too much insulin, eating too few carbs for the amount of insulin you take, and drinking alcohol and inconsistent carb intake at meals are all possible causes of low blood sugar.

Diabetes medications

Certain diabetes medications — including insulin, metformin and GLP-1 weight loss drugs like Ozempic — can lead to side effects like dizziness.

Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Low blood pressure (also called hypotension) is a reading of less than 90/60 mm Hg. One common side effect of low blood pressure is dizziness or lightheadedness.

Low blood pressure can be caused by:

  • Endocrine problems
  • Dehydration
  • Nutritional deficiencies, particularly being low in folic acid and vitamin B-12, which can lead to anemia
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Decreased blood volume
  • Certain medications, including diuretics and medicines used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, depression and Parkinson’s disease
  • Heart problems

When to worry dizziness is because of diabetes

Dizziness can be related to uncontrolled type 2 diabetes  if your blood sugars are running high, which can in turn lead to dehydration. Another possible diabetes-related cause of light-headedness is chronic nerve damage to the heart causing reduced heart rate variability.

Other symptoms of chronically high blood sugars are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Very high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Intense thirst
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Fatigue
  • Increased infections
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased hunger
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet (neuropathy)
  • Very dry skin

The takeaway

Getting dizzy after you eat (or at other times for that matter) isn’t normal and can be caused by several different factors. If you often experience this symptom, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to determine the cause.

If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, Virta Health may be able to help. By making healthy lifestyle changes in a medical setting with supportive resources like 1:1 virtual coaching, you can regain control of your health and feel like yourself again. See if you’re eligible for Virta Health here.

This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any advice relating to your health. View full disclaimer

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