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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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Is it possible for sugar to cause cramps and/or ...

Resolved Question:

Is it possible for "sugar" to cause cramps and/or spasms? I am also a diabetic.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 9 years ago.

Dear GlendaJI,

It may be related. There are several things that can cause cramping. We might be able to give you a better idea of some possibilities if you could also list medications and/or supplements you are taking. Is your blood glucose elevated? If so can you tell me the ranges? How long have you been diabetic? Where are your cramps and when do they occur?

I'll look for your answers.

Susan

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I have had massive cramping for years, all over my bodI discovered that it was from Lipitor. Now I get in my legs and feet mostly. Quinine is the only thing that helps. I have been diabetic for yrs.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I have tried all my meds and it isn't any of them, but when I gave up sugar the cramps stopped.
My numbers are low.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I don't know what else I can tell you. Please reply
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I get the cramps when I am sleeping.
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 9 years ago.

Hello again, thanks for writing back with more information. I was trying to see if you were on any medications that can cause cramping such as certain diuretics and/or BP medications that can deplete or alter your potassium and salt balance. Since you didn't mention any medications, besides the quinine, I am assuming you are not on those types. If you were, you may need to monitor your electrolyte balance more closely and make sure you are getting enough potassium.

It sounds like you are saying that your blood sugar is in a good range, but when you eat things with sugar in them, you have noticed that you having the cramping, but when you stop eating the sugar the cramps go away. Diabetics often develop symptoms of neuropathy, but I had not heard that sugar could cause cramping directly, but if you find that this seems to be happening to you, I would certainly try to stick to decreasing the sugars, since it works for you, and as it will be better for you to decrease simple sugars in your diet anyway.

As I mentioned above sometimes diabetics are more prone to getting neuropathy which is nerve damage in the extremities related to having decreased peripheral circulation and nervous system destruction. Neuropathy can also be related to several other factors such as high blood sugar, poor circulation, auto-immune disorder, smoking, alcohol, etc. So this could another possibility for your cramping. Neuropathy is usually described as feeling like numbness, tingling, or pain in the toes, feet, legs, hands, arms, and fingers. It can lead to wasting of the muscles of the feet or hands.
Here is a link about neuropathy if you want to find out more about it:

http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/

I suppose you have also heard of RLS (restless leg syndrome) which is mentioned a lot on TV commercials these days. This is usually described as an uncontrollable urge to move when at rest. Sensations are described as burning, creeping, tugging, or like insects crawling in the legs. I am only mentioning this, incase your discomfort seems more similar to this description rather than cramping. Additional information about RLS can be found here:

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm#106033237

There are medications and treatments for both neuropathy and RLS.

I hope I have not given you more information than you need. I felt it was important to let you hear about these things, since you have risk factors for them and another treatment might help you if you did have these disorders.

If you are okay, and the cramps go away with stopping sugar, that may be all you need to do (as well as continuing to take good care of your diabetes)

If you have any other questions about this information, let me know. Otherwise, please click the ACCEPT button when you are finished.

Take care,

Susan

 

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