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Cramps And Diabetes

Nighttime Leg Cramps And Diabetes

Nighttime Leg Cramps And Diabetes

Diabetes is linked with various complications, including nighttime leg cramps. These cramps can last for a few seconds or several minutes and may wake you up from a sound sleep. Discover more about nighttime leg cramps and what you can do about them when you have diabetes. Nighttime leg cramps can be painful, making your muscles feel tight or knotted. They tend to occur most often in the calves, but can also happen to your thighs and feet. Your muscles could feel sore long after the cramps are gone. You may also get sensations of tingling and numbness. Usually nighttime leg cramps happen to people 50 and older, but can occur in people of all ages. If you experience leg cramps, you should report the symptoms to your doctor. It could be a sign of nerve damage, referred to as diabetic neuropathy, which is a result of ongoing high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) with type 2 diabetes. It is important to catch nerve damage early before it leads to more serious complications. There are a few basic ways to help prevent nighttime leg cramps. They can happen when you get dehydrated, so drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Stretch your legs gently before you settle into bed. You might want to do five minutes of low-impact exercise before going to bed. The blankets and sheets should be loose around your legs and feet to avoid binding that may compromise your circulation. Proper foot care also makes a difference. Have your feet measured and wear properly fitted shoes with good support. Choose non-binding socks that breathe, such as diabetic socks. While these basic suggestions are helpful, it is important to visit a doctor when you have nighttime leg cramps. Without proper management and treatment, these leg cramps may become debilitating. The doctor may prescribe medicatio Continue reading >>

Diabetes-related Leg Cramps: How To Prevent And Treat

Diabetes-related Leg Cramps: How To Prevent And Treat

Being suddenly woken up by a painful knot in your calf—or frozen toes—isn't fun. Here's what diabetes has to do with it and what you do to stop the pain. Perhaps you’ve been there—in the middle of a perfectly restful night of sleep you are abruptly woken up by an intense pain from a cramping muscle, typically in your foot or calf. Although the exact cause of muscle cramps is still up for debate, they are frequently linked to poor flexibility and muscle fatigue. A smaller body of research also suggests that diabetes can increase your risk of experiencing leg cramps, potentially due to swings in blood sugar levels, certain medications, and long-term complications such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage).1,2 With or without diabetes, these cramps are characterized by the sudden, involuntary, and painful tightening (contraction) of a muscle. They occur most frequently in the evenings in the following muscle groups: Calf muscles (back of the lower leg) Hamstrings (back of the thigh) Quadriceps (front of the thigh) Cramps can also occur in the hands, feet, arms, neck, and abdomen What causes these painful cramps and how can I prevent them? “Although the exact cause of muscle cramps remains unknown, they are not inevitable,” says Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE. While cramps may seemingly come on without warning, knowing the factors and situations that can cause muscle cramps can help you understand them, prevent them, and treat them. Here, some reasons for cramps and what you can do to avoid them: Uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Glucose is required for muscles to contract and relax, so if your blood sugar levels are too high or low, it impacts the body’s ability to regulate these activities properly.1 Controlling your blood sugar levels is important Continue reading >>

Calf Pain & Diabetes Connection

Calf Pain & Diabetes Connection

In diabetes, calf or leg pain can be due to diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), to peripheral artery disease (PAD) or to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). All of these conditions can result in pain, cramping, achiness and swelling in the calves and the lower leg, ankle and feet. And all of them can be associated with severe diabetic foot problems including ulcers, infections and weakened bones that can lead to fractures. The pain in the calf can be in the gastrocnemius muscles (often shortened to “the gastrocs”) or to the soleus or plantaris muscles. Diabetes, Oxidative Stress and DPN DPN results from nerve damage, primarily in the feet and legs, but sometimes also in the hands and arms. One of the main causes of DPN, it is believed, is the accumulating toxic effect of high levels of sugar on the nerves and surrounding tissue. The high levels of sugar can be toxic on their own some believe[1], but in addition, high levels of sugar can increase the levels of substances called free radicals. Free radicals are naturally produced in the body as a result of normal reactions. The body also has naturally occurring antioxidants, primarily enzymes such as the selenoproteins (proteins with the trace mineral selenium), sulfur-based proteins such as glutathione, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, beta carotenes and Vitamin E (which humans need to get through the diet) and others. These natural antioxidants can however, be overwhelmed by the high levels of free radical which may be produced by cells bathed in high levels of sugar.[2] This can eventually lead to a condition in the cells called “oxidative stress” and it is this damage—caused by high levels of free radicals which damage the cell’s DNA and the proteins in the cells which can damage nerve cells and result in DPN. Diabetes, Hi Continue reading >>

Muscle Cramps: Are They Preventable Or Inevitable With Physical Activity?

Muscle Cramps: Are They Preventable Or Inevitable With Physical Activity?

If you experience painful, involuntary contractions of your muscles, you’re having a muscle cramp. They can occur in any muscle but are most common in the legs, feet, and muscles that cross two joints, such as your calf muscle (the gastrocnemius, which crosses your knee and your ankle joints), quadriceps and hamstrings (the front and back of your thighs), and your feet. Not all of them are that painful; they range in intensity from a slight twitch to severe cramping that makes the muscle feel rock hard and that can last from a few seconds to several minutes. They can also ease up and then recramp several times before disappearing. Although the exact cause of muscle cramps remains unknown, they are not inevitable. More than likely they’re likely related to either poor flexibility, muscle fatigue, and/or doing new physical activities. For example, athletes are more likely to get cramps in the preseason when less conditioned and more subject to fatigue. Cramps often develop near the end of unaccustomed intense or prolonged exercise or during the night following the activity. Of course, if you’re exercising in the heat, cramps can also be related to dehydration and depletion of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) lost through sweating. When these nutrients fall to certain levels, you’re more likely to experience cramping, and it’s good to keep in mind that many people with diabetes already have low blood levels of magnesium. The other electrolytes like potassium and sodium can also become unbalanced during periods of uncontrolled hyperglycemia when water losses through urine are usually greater. Finally, cramps in people with diabetes also may occur as a side effect of certain drugs (e.g., lipid-lowering agents, antihypertensives, beta-agonist Continue reading >>

Diabetes Leg Pain And Cramps: Treatment Tips

Diabetes Leg Pain And Cramps: Treatment Tips

Diabetes can lead to a variety of complications. Leg pain and cramps often occur as a result of nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy. If diabetes damages nerves in your arms or legs, it’s called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This condition can be a direct result of long-term high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) in those who have diabetes. Pain, burning, tingling, and numbness are common symptoms. Peripheral neuropathy can also result in serious foot and leg conditions. Catching nerve damage early is important in preventing symptoms. This can help prevent lower leg amputations. You have options for alleviating leg pain and cramps due to diabetic neuropathy. Managing leg pain and cramps may also help prevent the condition from progressing and improve your quality of life. Diabetic neuropathy is most common in the legs and feet. Without treatment and management, it can become debilitating. The most important thing you can do to lower your risk of all complications, including diabetic neuropathy, is to keep your blood sugar level within the target range. If you have neuropathy, controlling blood sugar is still very important. But there are some other steps you can take to help control this condition. One of the first courses of action is pain management through medication. Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, may help alleviate mild to moderate pain. Two medications are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy: Other medications and treatment options include the use of opioid medications, such as tramadol and tapentadol, and topical remedies and sprays. Certain dietary supplements may also help ease pain, including leg discomfort associated with diabetes. Some nutrie Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Muscle Cramps: Cause, Prevention, Relief

Diabetes And Muscle Cramps: Cause, Prevention, Relief

Muscle cramps, or spasms, are involuntary contractions (shortening) of our skeletal muscles. Cramps can occur at any time but often wake people during the night. They can affect any muscle but usually show up in the calves, thighs, feet and arms. Since having either high or low blood sugar contributes to spasms, many people with diabetes report having from mild to severely painful muscle cramping. Causes of Cramping Glucose and Electrolytes The proper contraction and relaxation of our muscles requires a fuel source such as glucose, and a balanced exchange of electrolytes (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium) flowing through the cell membranes. When blood sugar is low, the muscles can become starved for fuel. When blood sugar runs high our body excretes excess glucose via urine, causing dehydration, and a depletion of electrolytes. These types of imbalances cause cramping in athletes engaged in extended strenuous exercise, those who are active without proper conditioning or hydration, and in active or sedentary people with fluctuating blood glucose. Nerves and Circulation Complications from diabetes can trigger muscle cramps as well. Since poor circulation and nerve damage may instigate spasms, people with peripheral vascular disease or peripheral neuropathy may be prone to cramps. In rare cases, muscle cramps are a symptom of kidney problems. Medications Medications and substances that contribute to the incidence of muscle cramps include insulin, lipid (cholesterol) lowering drugs, antihypertensives, beta-agonists, antipsychotics, oral contraceptives, and alcohol. Other Causes Muscle cramps are also associated with thyroid disease, hemodialysis, fatigue, pregnancy, poor flexibility, spinal nerve compression, and sitting, standing, or lying in one position for lo Continue reading >>

6 Emergency Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes

6 Emergency Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of many serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, vision loss, and amputation. But by keeping your diabetes in check — that means maintaining good blood sugar control — and knowing how to recognize a problem and what to do about it should one occur, you can prevent many of these serious complications of diabetes. Heart Attack Heart disease and stroke are the top causes of death and disability in people with diabetes. Heart attack symptoms may appear suddenly or be subtle, with only mild pain and discomfort. If you experience any of the following heart attack warning signs, call 911 immediately: Chest discomfort that feels like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest, lasting for a short time or going away and returning Pain elsewhere, including the back, jaw, stomach, or neck; or pain in one or both arms Shortness of breath Nausea or lightheadedness Stroke If you suddenly experience any of the following stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately. As with a heart attack, immediate treatment can be the difference between life and death. Stroke warning signs may include: Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially if it occurs on one side of the body Feeling confused Difficulty walking and talking and lacking coordination Developing a severe headache for no apparent reason Nerve Damage People with diabetes are at increased risk of nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy, due to uncontrolled high blood sugar. Nerve damage associated with type 2 diabetes can cause a loss of feeling in your feet, which makes you more vulnerable to injury and infection. You may get a blister or cut on your foot that you don't feel and, unless you check your feet regularly, an infection Continue reading >>

Can Diabetes Cause Muscle Cramps?

Can Diabetes Cause Muscle Cramps?

A recent study looked at links between muscle cramp frequency and severity and nerve fiber measures in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Persons with type 1 and 2 diabetes as well as healthy controls were given an evaluation and their large and small nerve fibers were assessed. Details about their muscle cramps were noted. There were 37 control subjects, 51 patients with type 1 diabetes and 69 with type 2 diabetes. Muscle Cramps a Diabetes Complication? The researchers state in their study paper that “Muscle cramps were the most frequent symptom captured by the Toronto Clinical Neuropathy Score (TCNS) in all groups, up to 78% in patients with [type 2 diabetes].” They also explained that in only those with type 1 diabetes, muscle cramp frequency and severity was tied to clinical, large, and small nerve fiber measures. They concluded that muscle cramps are common diabetes and are associated with clinical and both small and large nerve fiber measures in type 1 diabetes, “suggesting that their origin and propagation might extend beyond the motor nerve,” wrote the study authors. For the study, those with type 2 diabetes were older and had more muscle cramps, more severe cramps, and worse clinical and small and large nerve fiber measures when compared with those with type 1 diabetes. They also had worse nerve function, but this could have been due to the patients with type 1 diabetes being younger than those with type 2 in the study. Researchers added that “These findings are in line with previous studies, describing muscle cramps in a large spectrum of polyneuropathies, including sensory and small fiber polyneuropathies (Lopate et al., 2013; Maxwell et al., 2014; Abraham et al., 2016), suggesting that the cause of muscle cramps may extend beyond the motor n Continue reading >>

Are Leg Cramps Caused By Diabetes?

Are Leg Cramps Caused By Diabetes?

Leg cramps/muscle cramps/charley horses are a frequent manifestation of diabetes mellitus (DM). The subject of debate: are these leg cramps caused by DM or not? Straight from the horse’s mouth: Yes, they can be! (1), ( 2) There could be many reasons of leg cramps due to diabetes. Some of the most common being Dehydration and electrolyte (mineral) imbalance secondary to high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) prompting excessive urination (polyuria) and the subsequent passage of glucose (glycosuria) and electrolytes in urine (scroll down) Peripheral neuropathy Hypoglycemia secondary to insulin and oral anti-diabetic medications So, how do you define leg cramps? Leg cramps are instantaneous, involuntary (automatic, not under your control), and sustained painful contractions of one or more groups of muscles. These are usually felt in the calves and can extend up to the feet. Diabetics usually describe pain being worse at night (nocturnal leg cramps). Mechanisms and Cellular Events Underlying Leg Cramps in Diabetes A) Leg Cramps Secondary to Polyuria and Consequent Electrolyte Disturbances Dehydration secondary to polyuria causes leg cramps via inducing electrolyte disturbances, most commonly hyponatremia (a decrease in blood sodium levels). Glucose is an osmotic substance; when the blood sugar levels rise high enough, the glucose starts excreting into the urine (glycosuria), and along with it, it carries sodium and water, predisposing to hyponatremia (5). This is hyperglycemia-induced-osmotic-diuresis (i.e. increased blood glucose causing an excessive excretion of glucose in urine along with electrolytes and water). Diuresis is the excessive production of urine. Osmotic diuresis is excessive urination due to the presence of osmotic substances within the kidney tubes. T Continue reading >>

Muscle Cramps

Muscle Cramps

Tweet Muscle cramps happen when a skeletal muscle involuntarily contracts and they can range from being uncomfortable to very painful. They are most common from the waist down, and usually occur in the calf, feet and both front and back of the thighs. They can also affect the arms. While they can be problematic at any time of the day, muscle cramps often wake people up in the middle of the night. Muscle cramping is relatively common in people with diabetes mellitus, although research from Hans Kotzberg et al suggests they do not appear to be more prevalent in people with type 1 diabetes. Relationship to diabetes People with diabetes can experience mild to severely painful muscle cramps, which can be due to a number of reasons. High or low blood glucose levels Glucose is required for muscles to properly contract and relax, as is a balanced exchange of electrolytes, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. When imbalances happen, through either high or low blood sugar, cramps can occur. During low glucose levels, this results in muscles becoming starved for glucose. However, when blood sugar levels are high, excess glucose is excreted along with water and other salts which results in a reduced amount of electrolytes. Nerve damage People with peripheral vascular disease or diabetic neuropathy may suffer from muscle cramps, with poor circulation and nerve damage likely to instigate spasms. Medication Side effects from certain medications used to treat diabetes can result in muscle cramps. These include insulin, lipid (cholesterol) lowering agents, antihypertensives (blood pressure medications), oral contraceptives or beta-agonists. Treating muscle cramps Muscle cramps are often infrequent in people with or without diabetes, and massaging the affecting muscle while stretchi Continue reading >>

Night Leg Cramps

Night Leg Cramps

Most of the time, no apparent cause for night leg cramps can be identified. In general, night leg cramps are likely to be related to muscle fatigue and nerve problems. The risk of having night leg cramps increases with age. Pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of having night leg cramps. Several conditions, such as kidney failure and diabetic nerve damage, are known to cause night leg cramps. But if you have one of these, you're most likely aware of it and have symptoms other than night leg cramps. People who are taking certain medications, such as certain diuretics, might be more likely to have night leg cramps, although it's not known if there's a direct connection. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is sometimes confused with night leg cramps, but it's a separate condition. In general, pain is not a main feature of RLS, although some people describe their RLS as being painful. Other conditions that may sometimes be associated with night leg cramps may include: Structural disorders Metabolic problems Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) Medications and procedures Blood pressure drugs Diuretics (water retention relievers) Oral contraceptives Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) Dialysis Other conditions Diarrhea (causing anal irritation) Muscle fatigue Nerve damage, as from cancer treatments Pregnancy Continue reading >>

Prevalence Of Muscle Cramps In Patients With Diabetes

Prevalence Of Muscle Cramps In Patients With Diabetes

There are limited epidemiological studies addressing the prevalence of muscle cramps in the general population and diseases like diabetes (1). Common long-term complications of diabetes, such as neuropathy and nephropathy, have been associated with higher rates of muscle cramps (2). We aimed to determine the prevalence and characteristics of muscle cramps in patients with diabetes compared with healthy volunteers. Frequency, severity (using visual analog scale [VAS]), duration, and disability due to muscle cramps were evaluated, as is standard in clinical trials. Information about each patient’s clinical status was collected, including patient demographics, neuropathy (diagnosed using established clinical and electrophysiological criteria and quantitated using the Toronto Clinical Neuropathy Score) (3), diabetes complications, duration and type of diabetes, concurrent cramp-inducing (β-blockers, diuretics, statins) and cramp-protecting (quinine, calcium channel blockers, antiepileptics) medications, and markers of glycemic control (HbA1c). Baseline demographics and cramp characteristics for 269 patients with diabetes (type 1 diabetes, n = 87; type 2 diabetes, n = 144) or healthy volunteer (n = 38) status are presented in Table 1. The age-adjusted prevalence of cramps was higher in patients with type 2 diabetes (65.2 vs. 45.5%; P = 0.009) but not type 1 diabetes (61.2 vs. 45.5%; P = 0.13) compared with healthy volunteers. Patients with type 1 diabetes (5.8 vs. 3.8 out of 10 on VAS; P = 0.006) and type 2 diabetes (6.7 vs. 3.8 out of 10 on VAS; P < 0.001) had more severe cramps than healthy volunteers. More type 2 diabetes patients reported that cramps were disabling compared with healthy volunteers (33.3 vs. 0%; P = 0.0008). In patients with diabetes, neuropathy (odds Continue reading >>

Calf Cramp Cure From A Certified Diabetes Educator

Calf Cramp Cure From A Certified Diabetes Educator

If you have diabetes, you may be all too familiar with the annoying phenomenon of waking from a sound sleep with a cramp in your calf. According to Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, writing on the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Blog, these cramps can arise for a variety of reasons, including dehydration, potassium deficiency, neuropathy (nerve damage), or muscle overuse. Although it is best if the cause of a person’s nighttime calf cramps can be determined and addressed, Kemmis notes that this is not always possible. In these cases, she has found that routinely stretching the calf muscles before going to bed often substantially reduces the number of cramps reported by her patients. The stretch Kemmis suggests is known as a “standing gastrocnemius stretch” and involves placing your hands against a wall at shoulder height with the leg to be stretched behind you (with the toes facing forward and the heel on the floor), leaning forward (with the front leg bent and the back leg straight) until you feel a stretch in the calf. Kemmis recommends holding the stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing and doing one to two repetitions with each leg before going to bed. For more detailed instructions on how to do the calf stretch, including images, see the piece “Those Annoying Calf Cramps” on the AADE Blog. This blog entry was written by Web Editor Diane Fennell. Continue reading >>

Preventing And Treating Leg Cramps With Diabetes

Preventing And Treating Leg Cramps With Diabetes

For many diabetics, muscle pain is just a normal part of life. Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels can cause what's called diabetic neuropathy, which may result in pain, tingling, cramps or spasms in the arms, feet, legs or fingers. Treating leg cramps tends to involve treating the neuropathy while also addressing other factors that may be causing the cramps. Causes While there are several different types of neuropathies, peripheral neuropathy is what often causes leg cramps in diabetics. Potassium imbalance, which can be caused by fluctuating insulin levels and frequent urination in diabetes, can also contribute to leg cramping. Diabetics who are taking diuretics may also experience more leg cramps, as these types of drugs have been associated with muscle spasms and pain. Prevention The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy is to manage your diabetes well and keep your blood sugar stable. If the cramps are caused by potassium imbalances, you should talk to your doctor about changing your diet to address this issue. Exercise is also important, especially stretching, while adequate hydration after long periods of physical activity will ensure your water and electrolyte balances stay stable. Treatment Treatment for diabetic leg cramps will usually involve bringing your blood glucose levels into a normal range to prevent further nerve damage. Your doctor may recommend certain medicines or insulin therapies to help control your blood sugar. Treating the pain that comes with diabetic neuropathy could involve oral medication. Regular massage might also help relax the muscles in your legs, which will keep them from cramping. Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse Type 2 diabetes is different from type 1 diabetes in many ways. As its alternate name of a Continue reading >>

Leg Cramps And Diabetes: 5 Signs Of Complications For Diabetics

Leg Cramps And Diabetes: 5 Signs Of Complications For Diabetics

Diabetes is a disease that can lead to a variety of complications because of the detrimental impact high blood sugar has on the body. Leg cramps can occur because elevated blood sugar causes excessive urination and subsequent dehydration. Limb pain is another common complication of the disease and signals a serious condition that, without treatment, can become debilitating. Leg cramps are not just a sign of dehydration. In combination with pain in the arms and legs, they are a sign of diabetic neuropathy, which is damage to nerves as the result of high blood sugar levels. These nerves are very sensitive to everything from changes in temperature, to vibrations, and even a light touch. Sometimes the nerves are so damaged that "They might send signals of pain when there is nothing causing pain, or they might not send a pain signal even if something is harming you," reports Healthline. Urgent: Assess Your Heart Attack Risk in Minutes. Click Here. Dr. Laurence Kinsella, professor of neurology at Saint Louis University says, "Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a so-called minor complication of diabetes, but not to the people who live with the pain it creates," reports WebMD. Here are five signs that may indicate a peripheral neuropathy complication of diabetes: 1. Numbness or tingling in the feet and lower legs: These symptoms can feel like the limb as fallen "asleep." On the other hand, they can feel like a "buzzing or shocking sensation," according to Healthline. 2. Impaired sense of touch: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke addresses sensory nerve damage. "Since this is felt most in the hands and feet, people may feel as if they are wearing gloves and stockings even when they are not. This damage to larger sensory fibers may contribute to the loss o Continue reading >>

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