What Causes Leg Pain in Diabetes?
Q: Hi, I am Peter 52 years old male with type 2 diabetes. My sugar level is OK, A1C is 7.3 and I do regular exercise. There is no other health issue. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. My weight is 145 lbs and height is 5’7″. Still I have problem with my legs; they are thin. Sometimes I also get pain though I take aspirin every day. My cholesterol level is fine. Please guide me.
Your HbA1C level is a bit high, it is desirable to have it below 6.
Leg pain in diabetes is due to two reasons–
- Diabetes induced neuropathy
- Diabetes induced myopathy
In the former, nerves get affected by high blood sugar levels and slowly get damaged. Symptoms commonly experienced by patients suffering from this complication are-
- tingling and numbness in the peripheries (legs and hands)
- reduced sensations of touch in affected areas and pain in leg.
You haven’t mentioned any reduction in sensation or any numbness. So this is unlikely to be a cause of your leg pain.
Diabetes induced myopathy means slow degeneration of different muscle groups of the body due to increase blood sugar levels. In such cases, not only the leg muscles but other muscles of the body are also involved, like muscles of the face, hands etc.
The extent of damaged diabetes causes in ones body depends more on how old the disease is. If you have being having it since many years, it may have caused the above complications.
There is another possibility for your leg pain. It may be due to PAD (Peripheral arterial disease).
What Is Peripheral Arterial Disease?
As we age up, the fine arteries of our legs may get clogged by plaque formation. Plaque is formed by deposition of fat molecules over patches of inflammation in the vessels. This is commoner in people with history of smoking, high cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyles, jobs requiring long sitting hours, history of alcohol intake and hypertension.
Due to clogging, the blood supply to the legs is hampered. Patient presents with symptoms like thinning of legs, loss of hair over legs and leg pain (especially on exertion).
PAD (leg atherosclerosis) is much more common in diabetics than others.
I would suggest you to get evaluated further. You can visit some surgeon and rule out the presence of any extent of PAD.
For details about making a diagnosis and treatment of leg atherosclerosis you can read here.