Diabetes develops if the body could not generate enough insulin to properly regulate the blood sugar levels. Take note that this lack of insulin can lead to abnormally elevated levels of sugar in the blood, but not enough sugar within the cells of the body, thus starving the cells of the required energy that they need. The combination of excess sugar in the blood and diminished level of sugar in the cells results to various symptoms where many can occur in the legs of the individual.
Numbness and tingling
Diabetes can often damage the nerves that connect the legs to the brain. This is a condition called as peripheral neuropathy. Once the nerves are damaged, changes in the sensation to the legs can occur. The nerves might stop communicating to the brain, thus resulting to full loss of sensation along with a feeling of numbness.
In the same way, the impaired nerves might transmit incorrect signals to the brain, resulting to feelings of tingling, burning or pain. These symptoms often start in the feet and steadily progress up the legs.
The blood vessels that supply blood to the legs and feet might also be affected by diabetes. When it comes to peripheral vascular disease, it occurs once fatty deposits accumulate inside the blood vessels and reduce the supply of blood.
The poor circulation heightens the risk for ending up with sores on the feet which will surely become infected. The sores can cause pain in the legs or feet unless the individual has also nerve damage that reduces sensation in the legs. The elevated levels of sugar in the blood prevent the body from fighting off infections effectively and slow down the healing of wounds.
The cramping of the legs is typically experienced by individuals who have diabetes. The poor circulation along with nerve damage can lead to sore muscle cramps. Take note that the cramping can oftentimes occur abruptly at night, thus disrupting sleep.
The nerve damage and poor circulation in the legs of individuals who have diabetes can oftentimes result to amputation of the feet or legs. Once the diabetic individual ends up with sores on the feet, he/she might not be able to notice right away if they also have nerve destruction that dulls the area. Combined with the inability of the body to fight off infection and heal the wound, a small-sized sore can gradually grow into a large ulcer. Once the ulcer grows large enough to cover a substantial area of the leg or foot, the doctor has no other option but to amputate the leg.