Are leg cramps a sign of liver disease?

What you don’t know won’t hurt you. But such is not the case when you are experiencing muscle cramps because of liver disease. The pain in your leg muscles could prompt you to have a check-up for your liver’s condition

Here’s what you need to know about cramps and its possible causes
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Muscle cramps are commonly overlooked in liver disease cases. But there’s been sufficient medical data to demonstrate the prevalence of muscle cramps in cirrhosis patients.

According to Atif Zaman, MD, M.P.H., associate editor of NEJM Journal Watch Gastroenterology, the prevalence of muscle cramps in patients with cirrhosis ranges from 22-88 per cent, depending on the varying definitions of cramps.

The specific mechanism involved in the muscle cramps experienced by cirrhosis patients has yet to be fully explored. But there is reason to believe that energy metabolism, nerve function, electrolytes and plasma volume play a part in the painful involuntary contractions of the muscles, especially in the legs.

A March 2019 study, conducted by researchers from the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of JA Hiroshima General Hospital in Hatsukaichi, Japan, also found that muscle cramps are also relatively prevalent in patients with chronic liver disease

The study’s findings indicated that female patients, diabetic people and those with chronic kidney disease on top of chronic liver disease were likely to experience muscle cramps. The researchers also indicated that patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were prone to experiencing muscle cramps due to reduced muscle mass.

Having said all these, is there reason to believe that the leg cramps you have been experiencing could be due to liver disease? Well, that’s a bit hard to tell. Leg cramps could be caused by other conditions such as pregnancy, extreme exercise and the intake of medications like statins, according to NHS Inform.

The only way to find out what’s really causing your leg cramps is to consult with your doctor. Some leg cramps are not really alarming.

But if you feel like your muscle cramps are already affecting your quality of life and interfering with your sleep, then you should not waste your time anymore. Contact your physician right away for a proper diagnosis.

Source: Medical Daily