muscle weakness type 2 diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes have more significant less muscle weakness than previously thought, a new study suggests.

The research, conducted at Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom, adds to previous research about lower-limb muscle weakness in people with type 2 diabetes, who as a result have a higher risk of falling.

The researchers analysed data from 20 participants with type 2 diabetes. They tested for neuropathy, intramuscular noncontractile tissue strength and vitamin D deficiency. Their results were compared to 20 healthy adults matched for age, sex and BMI.

The researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes had higher levels of intramuscular fat in their lower legs. This meant they had substantially less knee extensor strength, reduced muscle volume of both knee extensors, and weaker muscles higher up the leg.

Participants with diabetic neuropathy had even weaker knee extensors, but no differences were observed in participants with a lack of vitamin D.

“This muscle weakness with diabetes has important implications, meaning that patients may find everyday tasks more difficult and struggle to meet the demands of some tasks, thereby initiating a negative cycle of reduced activity, which negatively affects their diabetic condition,” said Professor Neil Reeves, Professor of Musculoskeletal Biomechanics at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“Therefore, people with diabetes not only have smaller muscles capable of producing lower forces, but their lower leg muscles are also infiltrated by fat, which causes a further reduction in the force that can be produced, compounding their weakness.”

The findings appear in Diabetes Care.