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Are Leg Cramps Caused By Diabetes?

Source: Diabetes Explorer, July/August 2006

Leg cramps can be caused by a variety of reasons. One cause, which may be seen in people with diabetes who take insulin, is low potassium. A simple blood test can rule out if this is the cause. The treatment is to eat more foods high in potassium, or in severe cases to take potassium supplements. Some foods high in potassium include the orange vegetables and fruits such as apricots, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes, and other foods such as bananas and figs. Deficiencies in other electrolytes such as sodium and magnesium can also cause leg cramps.

Low calcium levels may be another possible cause of leg cramps. This too can be ruled out by a blood test. Calcium supplements or increasing your intake of foods high in calcium may help.

In growing children, “growing pains” may cause cramps in the legs. These pains are common in children with and without diabetes and often are relieved by taking ibuprofen (Motrin), soaking in warm baths, or warm compresses. The pediatrician should be able to help if these remedies are not effective.

Neuropathy (nerve damage) is another cause of leg cramps seen in people with diabetes. Your doctor should be able to advise you on the possible causes and treatments for your leg cramps.

Possible Causes Of Leg Cramps
In People With Diabetes

Low Potassium Levels
Low Sodium Levels
Low Magnesium Levels
Low Calcium Levels
“Growing Pains” In Children