Doctor explains link between type 2 diabetes and symptoms of fatigue, aches

After walking into a crowded doctor's office, it may be difficult for some people with type 2 diabetes to remember all of the things that they wanted to discuss with their physician, such as unusual pain or frequent bouts of fatigue.

Although professional medical advice found online cannot replace regular trips to a healthcare provider, some individuals find it convenient to log on to different news websites like to receive general guidance from health experts on a variety of medical conditions.

In one such request, a Tennessee man with type 2 diabetes recently asked Otis Brawley, MD, whether his symptoms of fatigue, leg and lower back ache could be related to his diabetes diagnosis.

The expert responded that these problems may be caused by underlying health conditions that lead to type 2 diabetes, such as obesity, rather than diabetes itself. However, Brawley explained that in rare cases, some diabetes medications may promote fatigue by causing anemia or a metabolic change known as lactic acidosis.

He wrote on the news provider's website that sleep apnea is common among obese adults. This is a condition in which individuals stop breathing for a few seconds at a time at several intervals throughout the night. Although people who have sleep apnea may not realize it, they wake up in order to resume normal breathing, which may result in fatigue due to poor sleep quality.

Brawley recommended that the inquiring man increase his levels of physical activity, which has been shown to improve muscle weakness that may be at the root of non-specific leg and back pains. Exercise helps strengthen the muscles that have become weak due to inactivity, although he said that individuals with type 2 diabetes should consult their physician before beginning a new workout regimen.

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse suggests that people who want to improve their sedentary lifestyles begin by exercising between five and 10 minutes per day and aim to reach 150 minutes of physical activity weekly.