When a person lately begins suffering from a lot of unexplained muscle twitching, they may try to convince themselves it’s low blood sugar because this diagnosis would sure beat a diagnosis of ALS.
What typically happens is that new-onset muscle twitching – whether the twitches are localized (e.g., arch of foot, calve, toe, butt or somewhere on the face), or more widespread (like both legs all over) – drives a person to the computer to find out what could be causing this.
Invariably, the search words bring up links to ALS sites; the link descriptions list twitching muscles as a symptom of ALS, a fatal neurological disease.
Many people then begin wondering if they might have ALS. Once this fear begins consuming them, they become capable of hoping they have another medical condition—even if it’s as serious as diabetes—that could explain all the twitching in their muscles.
After all, what could be worse than ALS?
A person who’s already been diagnosed with diabetes is even more likely to hope that the twitching in their muscles is somehow related to low blood sugar levels.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes, either type 1 or 2, you can forget the idea that the nonstop eyelid twitching or twitching elsewhere is related to low blood sugar levels or insulin receptor sites on muscle cells.
“I am unaware of muscle twitching from low blood sugar,” says Susan L. Besser, MD, with Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, and Diplomate American Board of Obesity Medicine and board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
Dr. Besser adds, “I know if your sugar gets too low, you may get shaky, but that isn’t the same as muscle twitching.”
What about high blood sugar?
Muscles are involved in diabetes. In diabetes, the insulin receptor sites on muscle cells do not receive blood sugar.
This non-receipt is caused either by the inability of insulin receptor sites on muscle cells to take the sugar molecules that are being transported to them by insulin, or, the pancreas is not producing any insulin to begin with.
In uncontrolled diabetes, this means that glucose (blood sugar) isn’t reaching the insulin receptor sites.
Muscle cells then are shorted of their fuel supply. The result is hunger even when the person is eating more than usual.
Other symptoms also ensue such as increased urination, increased thirst and fatigue.
In severe cases of excessively high glucose, a person will feel sick, worse than the flu, may vomit and eventually slip into a coma.