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October 24, 2003

Aches and Pains

Question from Peoria Heights, Illinois, USA:

I have type 2 diabetes which is well-controlled with oral hypoglycemic agents. I walk quite a bit on my job, and lately, especially when the weather changes, my legs hurt when I lay down at night. What causes this pain? How can I relieve it?

Answer:

There are several things that may be causing your leg pain. First, diabetic neuropathy may cause this pain, especially if it is pins and needles in character. This can occur even if your blood sugars are in relatively good control. If this is the case, the pain will often respond to medication directed at the neuropathic pain. Please see your physician to discuss treatment options.

Second, you could have symptoms from medications, especially if you are taking a cholesterol-lowering drug (like Lipitor or Zocor). You need to see your physician and have a muscle enzyme level taken called a CPK.

Third, it could be from some joint or bone problem causing you pain. This may be a simple as wear and tear symptoms or it could be from some other joint problem made worse by the physical activity.

Finally, decreased blood flow to the legs can cause pain. This is typically short-lived and maximal when you are actually walking. All these possibilities need to be discussed with your physician.

JTL