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Restless Legs and Type 2 Diabetes

2 min read

older man taking blood for diabetes test

by Bradley Gillespie, PharmD

Giovanni Merlino, MD, and his colleagues at the University of Udine in Italy set out to investigate the relationship between Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)and type 2 diabetes. In this work, they carefully examined the characteristics of RLS in diabetics, as well as the potential RLS risk factors specific to diabetics.

While it is known that RLS may be the result of a number of other conditions such as diabetes, neuropathy, kidney disease, central nervous system trauma or iron deficiency, this may be the first systematic examination of the relationship between diabetes and RLS.

Dr. Merlino and his collaborators studied a total of 124 diabetic patients at their university diabetic outpatient treatment center, as well as 87 control subjects (people without diabetes). Interestingly, RLS was diagnosed in approximately 18% of the diabetics, and in only 5.5% of the controls. Statistical analyses showed an interrelationship between the maladies, resulting in their conclusion that RLS is highly prevalent in type 2 diabetic patients.

In order to try and determine the cause of RLS in diabetics, they also examined patients for the presence of polyneuropathy, a generalized disorder of the peripheral nerves that is commonly found in diabetics. While there was a modest relationship, the presence of polyneuropathy was not able to fully explain the relationship.

Chronic sleep deprivation, often found in patients suffering from RLS, has been positively linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and its related mortality. This documented linkage, as well as an associated increase in the incidence of high blood pressure, may provide an explanation for the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with RLS.

While Dr. Merlino stressed the importance of treating RLS to manage the cardiovascular risks associated with diabetes, he also noted that the literature describes cases of RLS itself as a causative factor in type 2 diabetes.

The serious nature of the information presented in this posting reinforces the need to effectively manage the symptoms of RLS. The fine-tuned list of ingredients used in the making of Calm Legs formula make it an effective treatment choice.


Restless Legs sufferer Bradley Gillespie, PharmD, is trained as a clinical pharmacist and has practiced in an industrial setting for the past 20-plus years. Currently, he supports efforts at the National Institutes of Health to develop therapeutics for rare and neglected diseases. He remains a registered pharmacist and operates a medical writing business.