Restless Legs Syndrome

Hi All,

I suffer this with the diabetes so my doctor tells me, do all diabetics get it ?? It gets me out of bed sometimes it just drives me nuts. Has anyone found anything that helps with this condition ??

Hi, Nat! I have had RLS, now to be officially called Ekbom’s disease, for as long as I can remember. It’s genetic in my family. NO, it’s not caused by diabetes. No one really knows what causes it. But some people get it during pregnancy, and some people get it as they age, and some people get it because of neuropathy or renal failure. There is no perfect treatment for it, although there are a lot of drugs you can try. They all have side effects, and many of them are habit-forming (read: addictive). But they are better than jumping out of your skin all night!

There is an organization called the Restless Legs Foundation, which has information about it at

I would recommend that you read that site, and print out the relevant parts, and take them to your doc. You will need to discuss what you are willing to do about it. In my case, I take Xanax (alprazolam) to which I’m developing tolerance, and so when I have symptoms, I just get out of bed, and do something (often the computer, and wiggling the whole time I’m there!). But I have the freedom to sleep during the day when my legs aren’t bothering me. If you don’t have that freedom, you are in a pickle. That’s when the drugs are worth considering.

Good luck from another Nat! :slight_smile:

So sorry. Know it’s misery. Only RLS diabetic connection I know of is that RLS can be related to peripheral neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), an OTC amino acid supplement, can help neuropathy if this may be the cause of yours. The R-ALA form is the most effective. ALA works by healing the myelin sheath of nerves. I learned of ALA about 15 years ago when a friend’s dog developed severe neuropathy. It healed his. Has your doctor checked you for anemia?

Thanks for that info its great, No Gerri i havent been checked for anemia as far as I know will get that done, and Nat will check out those things and also ask family members if anyone has it.

Thanks guys and have a good day !

Caffeine isn’t good for RLS, if you drink coffee, tea, cola.

Restless legs or “charlie horses” can be caused by dehydration and low levels of potassium and calcium. They also appear in the last stages of DKA = diabetic ketoacedosis which is caused by high levels of blood glucose and the absence of insulin. So the range is from harmless (fixable by supplementation) to severe (DKA needs immediate action).

Restless Leg Syndrome isn’t a charlie horse (cramping). It’s a neurological condition & often genetic.

I thought these conditions can be confused. Wikipedia describes it as an urge to move as a reaction to uncomfortable feelings in the legs which is not the same as cramping. Unfortunately the list of possible causes is quite long: iron deficiency (1), folate deficiency (1), magnesium deficiency (1), peripheral neuropathy (1), varicose vein or venous reflux (1), fibromyalgia (2), sleep apnea, uremia, thyroid disease (2), Parkinson’s disease and certain auto-immune disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome (2), celiac disease (2), and rheumatoid arthritis (2).

For (1) I see a direct relation to diabetes due to imbalances in electrolyte metabolism and typical complications causes by high blood glucose.

For (2) I see a high possibility that T1 diabetics will develop other autoimmune related conditions.

In general 7% to 10% of the population in North America and Europe is affected. It is possible though that people with T1 might have a higher likelihood to have the Restless Leg Syndome as your doctor told you. The list of causes seems to indicate that.

Interesting thoughts, Holger. Although mine is definitely genetic, I do notice that it is exacerbated by high BGs, and when I was extremely symptomatic before going on insulin, the RLS was almost unbearable on the whole dorsal side of my body, extending over my shoulders to the front of my chest for 10 - 12 hours a day. And since I was working, I couldn’t sleep during the day, which only made things worse. But good control does NOT make it go away – it’s only less severe.

Restless leg is not the same as the cramps of charlie horses. I used to have restless leg pretty bad. It seemed to be a side affect of the lexapro I was on. Lexapro is an SSRI and I have heard it happens sometimes with SSRIs. Since going off the lexapro my restless leg has almost entirely gone away.

Unaffected by my diabetes or diabetes meds.

I really don’t know if there is a cure for this… I had it really bad when I had gestational diabetes. it about drove me insane!
I do get it once inawhile now but not near as bad. What I find somewhat helpful is to drink lots of water all day. I always have a bottle of water in my hand. I do understand your frustration, I wouldn’t wish this condition on my worst enemy!

Excersize also helps a bit, specifically stretching, but not before bed, in the morning when you get up is best. As I said I do still get it occassionally but not as bad as I did when I was pregnant. I was on strict bed rest the last month of pregnancy and with this condition it was horrible! I found myself pacing in the middle of the night because I couldnt stand it!!!

Let me know if this is helpful! And I sincerely wish you the best!!!

I have had RLS since childhood and it seems to worsen as time goes on. There is a prescription drug, trade name Requip generic name ropinorole. I had fought against taking it because I’d heard about side effects and causing the symptoms to reappear at a greater level. I was in the hospital for four months, beginning last October and finally caved in and asked for it. It worked like a charm.For the first time ever, I was able to go to my nephew’s house in northern Mn for Easter - a 5 hour car ride.
When I was not on medication I often got relief from a very hot bath, and doing some stretches, and doing some exercises to exhaust the muscle, like leg lifts or deep knee bends.
And I agree with Jeff, that SSRI antidepressants can worsen symptoms.
Good luck. Few people understand what hell it is to live with unless you’ve been there yourself.
I have had symptons in my arms, but infrequenty.

You’re going to think that I’m yanking your chain, but I swear I’m not. I recently read an article that recommended masturbation for restless leg syndrome.