What Causes Leg Cramps in Diabetics

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ckdsite Posted: Fri, Apr 27 2012 12:04 AM

Many diabetics complain leg cramps that jerk them wide-awake at night. They are rather confused and don’t know how to improve this condition. Now the following will reveal causes of cramps in diabetics so as to help you understand it and take nichetargeting measures.

Actually, for diabetics, leg cramps may be caused by a variety of reasons. One cause, which may be seen in diabetics who take insulin, is low potassium. Potassium deficiency can also be aggravated due to loss of heavy potassium in diabetics with frequent and excess urine. A simple blood test can rule out if this is the cause.

In addition, deficiencies in other erythrocytes can also cause leg cramps.

Low calcium levels may be another possible cause of leg cramps. This can also be tested out through blood test. Increasing supplement of calcium through foods may help. Moreover, in growing children, “growing pains” may also result in cramps in the legs. This can be seen in children both with and without diabetes.

Leg cramps in diabetics is also associated with high or low levels of blood glucose. In case of low blood sugar (blood sugar<3.9mmol/l), muscle cell membrane excitability is intensified and thus contributing to cramp sensations. High blood sugar levels, on the other hand, can impair muscle cell membrane and thus also giving rise to jerks.


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DeeF replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 2:47 PM

I have really bad leg~foot cramps that wake me up frequently. I usually have to soak them in hot water for any relief. Thanks for the ideas!

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Madman replied on Mon, Apr 30 2012 12:02 PM

I was having horrible leg/foot cramps for several months prior to diagnosis.

It was due to dehydration.

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ckdsite replied on Wed, May 2 2012 5:31 AM

 do you have examinations such as blood suger, glycosylated hemoglobin´╝č 

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donw replied on Fri, Oct 19 2012 9:42 AM

One of the "tricks" I use to control leg cramps comes from my Army days.  On long road marches we used to take salt tablets to force us to drink water and avoid dehydration.  This also rebuilds electrolytes in the system and keeps muscles from cramping during rest periods.  About 8 ounces of water and about a half teaspoon of low sodium salt before bed workrs for me.  I do this once or twice a week.  I also eat half a banana with breakfast, full of potassium as well.


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I live in a hot European country and during the warm months of which there are many, although I have discovered much of what has been said above as true, it is very important to understand that as diabetics many of the symptoms we experience are multiplied. When you look at the easy going Greeks sitting in their cafe's drinking little espresso coffee's, you do not always notice that whatever they are consuming, it always comes with a large glass of water.

How much water do you drink a day? I have discovered that on days when I have been concentrating too hard on my computer, I very often get cramp at night! Why? Because I have forgotten to drink at least two liters of water during the course of the day. Silly boy! But while you are guzzling a quick sandwich for your lunch, you might also forget to check your glucose levels. These can rise alarmingly if you eat the wrong things - and we often have to - and unless you take your insulin or other remedies quickly, you might discover that your trips to the WC often increase, and you start urinating at an alarming rate. 

What happens then is hardly surprising, because you then begin to automatically dehydrate, and bingo - later on - the cramps begin! Now, why don't the pundits tell you all this? Its because they are doctors, and not patients; so the answer is to talk to one another - like this!

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I not only get agonising cramps in every part of my leg muscles from thigh to toe but I suffered from them even before I was diabetic but when I was on a diet. I think that what has been said here about dehydration may well be involved, because frequent urination even when you drink a lot of water can cause you to become dehydrated, so I suspect that is the cause, linked to long periods of sitting in front of the computer. I particularly get them if I have had a late night out. My doctor prescribed quinine sulfate which I  take occasionally and I also take Crampex, a British medicine, and anti-cramp pills that I bought in the USA and which also seem to work but last night I had terrible cramps and took three pills one after the other and they kept coming back regardless. If one has had cramps even before being diagnosed with diabetes one will certainly get them afterwards and no one who hasn't had them knows how agonizing they are.

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I learned from my husband's doctor that often the legs are affected by clogged arteries due to high blood sugar and this can lead to night time cramping. diabetes legs pain . He has a family history of heart disease and this may also play a role in his condition.

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Apparently leg cramps can be a sign of not only growing muscle weakness from high blood sugar but also clogged arteries in the lower limbs   

See here   diabetes leg cramps

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Tor replied on Tue, Jul 29 2014 2:32 AM
My personal experience is that leg cramps at night, along with some other common problems experienced by type 2 diabetics, are directly proportional to average blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels, like I had in the first year after my diagnosis (post prandials of up to 300) impairs blood circulation which I believe was the main cause of my leg problems. Once I got my diabetes under control, with an hba1c in the 5.0-5.2 range, the leg pains disappeared completely along with some other aches, pains and skin problems I had been experiencing in the early days of my diabetes type 2.
I know that gaining control of blood sugar levels can be easier said than done, and usually requires major lifestyle changes including adding activity routines as well as changes to what one eats. But the rewards are truly tremendous.
I can't speak to whether the rewards are the same if blood sugar control is achieved through meds and/or insulin injections, as I've not had a need for BG lowering meds in the 16 years since I was diagnosed.

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