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Severe cramping in thighs?

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For years my mother has experienced severe cramping in a number of areas. Her thighs especially, but also her feet, arms, and stomach. It happens when she does not eat enough or on time, but it seems to happen even when she does. She also says eating is the only thing that stops the cramping, but she's forced to overeat when she doesn't want to and it's making her gain weight, which is not good for her health.

I've read that low potassium can cause cramping in diabetics, so she's been eating bananas regularly, but so far it isn't helping much.


My mother is 51, diabetic, has issues with her adrenal and pituitary glands, and thyroid issues. She has to take a small dose of steroids for her adrenal problems in addition to some other medication.

More and more, I'm beginning to think this cramping is not just about her not eating enough on time, but something else... but we don't have the money to get her checked out the way she should be. The clinics are no help, they just do blood test after blood test that don't say anything. Please any suggestions as to what is happening with her and how we can stop it would be very appreciated.
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replied March 22nd, 2012
Welcome to e health forum.

The description of pain in the lower back, radiating to the thighs, legs and the foot, could be due to conditions like diabetic neuropathy, Sciatica, or peripheral neuropathy.

Since you have mentioned that your mother is diabetic, the condition is probably due to diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes, in which nerves are damaged as a result of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).

People with diabetes commonly develop temporary or permanent damage to nerve tissue. Nerve injuries are caused by decreased blood flow and high blood sugar levels, and are more likely to develop if blood sugar levels are not well controlled.

Some people with diabetes will not develop nerve damage, while others may develop this condition early. On average, symptoms begin 10 to 20 years after the diabetes diagnosis. Approximately 50% of people with diabetes will eventually develop nerve damage.

The severity of diabetic neuropathy depends on the age, duration of diabetes, current glycemic control, the degree the nerves and tissues are affected and the current treatment.

The goals of treating diabetic neuropathy are to prevent the disease from getting worse and to reduce the symptoms of the disease.

Tight control of blood sugar (glucose) is important to prevent symptoms and problems from getting worse.

Medications may be used to reduce the symptoms in the feet, legs, and arms. These medications include: Amitriptyline, Doxepin, duloxetine, Gabapentin, Pregabalin, and valproate are used to treat the painful symptoms.

Capsaicin can be used topically to reduce pain.

In case one of the drug is not helpful over a period of time, your doctor can try a better one after due consideration. Every individual will respond to a different drug depending on the individual situation. But most newer drugs like gabapentin and duloxetine are always helpful to control the pain.

You mother might need to consult her doctor for a proper physical examination and proper treatment.

I hope this helps.
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replied March 22nd, 2012
Thank you very much, Dr. Anvekar, I wrote down the names of those medications for her to consult the doctor at the clinic next time she visits.


Do you think the cramping might have anything to do with her adrenal issues?
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