Diabetes is mainly associated with a hyperglycemic state due to the impairment in insulin function and release. Failure to maintain healthy muscles in a diabetic condition is usually termed diabetic myopathy which has a negative impact on the reparative and growth capacities of the skeletal muscle. The pathopysiological alterations to the skeletal muscle are mainly in response to the diabetic
- hormonal and
- biochemical environment.
Therefore, myopathy is a systemic disease caused by neuropathy (nerve damage) that impairs proper functioning of muscle fibers causing general muscle weakness in affected areas. Myopathy also causes muscle spasms, inflammation and paralysis.
Symptoms of Diabetic Myopathy
Diabetes sufferers may notice deterioration in the strength of their muscles as the disease progresses which may be localized in one area or across various parts of the body. Signs and symptoms of vary among individuals and they may be very mild such as temporary trembling and clamps or very serious including paralysis and wasting. Weakness occurs mainly in the proximal muscles such as the upper arms, shoulders, pelvis and thighs. In the advanced stages, the distal muscles of the feet and hands may also be involved.
This is a motor speech disorder which is primarily characterized by difficulty expressing and forming words. It is mainly a result of pathology or injury of the nervous system due to diabetes myopathy. The muscles of the respiratory system, face and mouth move very slowly or do not move at all. However, severity depends on the areas of the muscular and nervous systems that have been affected. Symptoms include; slow or rapid rate of speech with a mumbling quality, limited lip, jaw and tongue movement, changes in vocal quality, abnormal intonation, drooling and chewing or swallowing difficulty.
As diabetes progresses, sufferers may also experience failure of voluntary muscle coordination. It implies dysfunction of some parts of the nervous system that usually coordinate movement.
Fatigue is an abnormal feeling of weariness, tiredness, weakness, exhaustion or low energy. It may impact the person’s ability to function properly in their everyday life. Although fatigue may be mild at the onset of diabetic myopathy, it becomes ongoing or chronic as this systemic condition worsens.
4. Diabetic Myopathy & Muscle Weakness
Muscle weakness occurs at any age and it can either affect the entire portion or just a portion of the body. Diabetic myopathy affects the nervous system resulting in muscle weakness. It occurs in conjunction with symptoms such as paresthesia, pain or fever-like symptoms. Complications of muscle weakness vary depending on the stage of diabetic myopathy and they include contractures and muscle atrophy.
5. Exercise intolerance
Diabetic myopathy might also cause the inability to exercise excessively. This might be due to pain, muscle stiffness, paralysis, spasms, jerky movements, immobility apraxia and extreme slowness of movement.
6. Muscle pain
Diabetic myopathy might also cause pain and aches in the muscles. This may be due to muscle cramps, muscle strains, injury, fatigue, circulatory disorders and stress. The changes in muscle can be detected with biochemical or molecular techniques or with functional testing mainly because this condition is primarily associated with loss of strength and muscle mass. Diabetic myopathy is one of the leading causes of disability among diabetics. Therefore, regardless of how mild these signs and symptoms of diabetic myopathy are, they should never be ignored. In addition to the blood glucose control measures, interventions to improve strength and muscle mass in these patients should also be undertaken.