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
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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:
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.
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 of reflexes."
Leg cramps that often occur at night: While leg cramps can be caused by low levels of potassium, dehydration or low calcium levels, they can also be a sign of nerve damage in the lower limbs.
Foot problems: The Mayo Clinic reports
that "Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain," can be an indication of peripheral neuropathy.
Loss of coordination: If the sensory nerves are sufficiently damaged, a loss of coordination may occur because the body cannot identify the location of joints. This complication of diabetes can result in a loss of sensory motor balance.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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