Conditions Commonly Associated With Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Perhaps the well-known creepy, crawling, jumpy, jerking sensations are all too familiar to you. However, did you know there are several other medical conditions that tend to accompany Restless Legs Syndrome RLS? When that happens, RLS is called Secondary Restless Legs Syndrome. Here is a list of some of the conditions that can lead to Secondary Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS):


It has been suggested in studies iron deficiency may lead to both ADHD and RLS. Children with ADHD and a family history of RLS are at risk for a more severe ADHD condition. Parents of these children are strongly urged to discuss their family history with their health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Amyloidosis (deposit of amyloid in tissues or organs)

This disorder is an abnormal deposition amyloid (a protein). This can result in serious changes in every organ.

Anemia (iron deficiency)

Anemia and peripheral neuropathy are the top two causes of Secondary RLS. This deficiency, when resulting from pregnancy, is often associated with RLS symptoms. Approximately 20% of all RLS sufferers live with anemia.

Celiac Disease (a small intestine autoimmune disease)

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) has been shown to have a connection to celiac disease. Doctors recommend screening for celiac disease in those who have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).


Because of the imbalance of specific blood components, diabetes can damage the blood vessels found in the leg muscles and the nerves that control muscles, thus leading to the same symptoms of RLS.

Folate Deficiency

This deficiency, when resulting from pregnancy, is often associated with RLS symptoms.

Growing Pains

It can be difficult to tell the difference between growing pains and RLS because of the circadian pattern (biological clock). The biggest difference between the two is growing pains can be defined as "throbbing pains" and RLS can be defined as "jittery, jumpy, jerking."


Because hypoglycemia can worsen RLS symptoms, a high-protein, sugar-free diet is recommended. .

Kidney Disease

As one nears the end-stage of kidney disease, the risk for RLS increases.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is also known as lyme infection. This bacterial illness is transmitted to humans when bit by a deer tick.

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency may occur from compromised absorption or inadequate magnesium intake. The National Academy recommends 420 milligrams per day for men and 320 milligrams per day for women. Green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and tap water ("hard" water has more magnesium than "soft" water), unrefined grains are good sources of magnesium

Opioid Detoxification (withdrawal of an opium substance)

Just recently, opioid detoxification has been associated with worsening RLS-type symptoms when going through withdrawal. For those suffering, a diet of void of simple, hard fats, and refined carbs and starches is recommended.

Parkinson's Disease

Because Parkinson's disease and RLS are both neurological disorders, the same medication, called dopaminergic agents, are prescribed for both.

Periodical Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

PLMD involves involuntary, rhythmic limb movements. These movements can occur either when asleep or awake. It's interesting to note most of those who suffer with RLS also suffer with PLMD, but not vice versa. Up to 90% of PLMD sufferers will develop RLS symptoms.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy and anemia are the top two causes of Secondary RLS. Symptoms can mimic RLS. They include burning pain, loss of reflexes, numbness, and weakness.


40% of all pregnant women experience RLS. However, the symptoms typically fade within weeks after delivery.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (inflammatory disorder)

RA can affect many organs and tissues and is commonly associated with RLS.

Sjogren's Syndrome (autoimmune disease)

Sjogren's occurs when white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands. Evidence exists that supports association between RLS and Sjogren's syndrome.

Sleep Apnea

Because RLS is more noticeable at night, many sleep disorders, not just sleep apnea, result from RLS.

Thyroid Disease

Studies show untreated thyroid disease can lead to RLS.

Uremia (kidney failure)

Uremia results from excessive amounts of urea in the blood.

Venous Reflux (varicose veins is the most common result of venous reflux)

A large percentage of RLS sufferers who live with varicose veins notice improvement when varicose vein treatments are performed. This percentage has grown over the past 25 years. Now that you are aware of medical conditions commonly associated with RLS, you know what to look for. While RLS is easy to self-diagnose, a visit with your health care professional can help.


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