Restless Leg Syndrome and Cardiovascular Health

Restless Leg Syndrome and Cardiovascular Health

Restless leg syndrome is a condition associated with a compulsion to move the legs due to feelings of discomfort. Symptoms of this condition, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, typically manifest after an individual lies down for a period of time. The symptoms and severity of restless leg syndrome can worsen if they are not addressed. However, there are actions individuals can take that may prevent the development of conditions associated with restless leg syndrome. Learn more about restless leg syndrome with Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS). 


What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

The root causes of restless leg syndrome are not always clear. Sometimes it can be associated with neurological issues such as Parkinson’s disease. In other cases, it may be a sign of iron deficiency or kidney problems. However, restless leg syndrome is also associated with several conditions that negatively impact the cardiovascular system. These can include high blood pressure, sleep apnea, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. 

Cardiovascular Issues and Restless Leg Syndrome

Some conditions that impact cardiovascular health are also linked to restless leg syndrome, such as obesity or being overweight. Being obese or overweight can contribute to high blood pressure readings (130/85 or higher). It may also lead to the onset of Type 2 diabetes, which can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing restless leg syndrome.

In addition, overweight or obese body types can contribute to the development of sleep apnea and associated health issues. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) triggers breathing pauses several times throughout the night. These pauses reduce blood oxygen levels, which negatively impacts the cardiovascular system. If left untreated, several cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension, irregular heartbeat, stroke, coronary artery disease, and heart attack may occur. 

Steps to Prevent Cardiovascular Issues Associated With Restless Leg Syndrome

Again, the causes of restless leg syndrome are often complex and not always clear. There is a strong correlation between the development of OSA and restless leg syndrome. Taking steps to maintain a healthy weight can reduce a person’s likelihood of developing OSA. In turn, reducing OSA risk can prevent a factor commonly associated with restless leg syndrome. 

There are several actions that can help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and size. These include:

  • Getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
  • Significantly reducing or eliminating the consumption of unhealthy foods, including fried foods, sugary foods and drinks, and foods high in saturated and trans fats.
  • Making healthier eating choices, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods.
  • Eating lean proteins, including fish, poultry, beans, and lentils.
  • Scheduling regular checkups with a doctor to have your health assessed.

Each of these steps can work together to help individuals achieve healthier weights and avoid some of the health problems associated with being overweight or obese. 

Schedule a Visit With CIS to Learn How You Can Better Safeguard Your Health

Are you concerned about the status of your cardiovascular health? Are you also showing symptoms of restless leg syndrome? If so, schedule an appointment at the CIS location nearest you. The sooner you seek care, the better your chances of avoiding potentially severe health conditions.


Request an Appointment

Latest News

CIS Staff

Written by CIS Staff