Log in
Restless Legs Syndrome
10,666 members6,625 posts

RLS - More likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes


Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse!

I checked out the NHS UK website a few days ago and was shocked to learn that RLS sufferers are more likely to to have heart attacks and strokes than non-sufferers. It went on discuss cholesterol and BMI. I was further shocked to learn that at 5'4" in height and weighing 10.5 stone, I need to lose 1.5 stone in weight. It suggested walking 10K steps per day. I have started walking a mile in the fresh air each day for the past two days and have slept better. The website has lots of information on weight loss and dietary tips.

Hope this helps.

12 Replies

Insomnia is a killer and we are chronically deprived of sleep, between some drugs knocking it off, the RLS/PLMD preventing or diminishing the quality of it and insomnia we are weakened severely and succumb to many more conditions because our bodies cannot repair themselves effectively.

Its been long known that those who don't sleep also carry more weight too. We get it from every angle :(


I put a lot of weight on when unwashed on a very high dose of Gabapentin. I gradually came off the drug but the weight has stuck.


BMI is a very variable and inconsistent tool.

A lot depends on your build and muscle/ fat ratio.

5.4" of muscled athlete would weigh more than same height" fat potato"!

Exercise is always beneficial- but don't get into a twist over a few stray lbs.

Tummy girth might be more relevant.



Some research may need to go into the mitochondrial ferritin situation:

"The recent discovery of mitochondrial ferritin (FtMt) provided the opportunity to identify a potential correlation between iron and mitochondrial function in RLS."


"FtMt is involved in pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, as its increased expression has been observed in Alzheimer’s disease, restless legs syndrome and Friedreich’s ataxia.


Mitochondrial ferritin is a novel ferritin type that specifically locates in mitochondria. It is highly expressed in tissues with high metabolic activity and oxygen consumption, such as testis, brain, heart, and so on."


FtMt gene expression is low in iron-storage organs such as the liver and spleen but can be detected in specific tissues such as the testis, kidney, heart, thymus, and brain.



I would be interested to know how many RLS sufferers (a) are overweight/obese now; and (b) were within the correct weight/height ratio range when the condition first appeared. I'm making a study of it, so all contributions gratefully received.

1 like

Hi scafftag,

I am one of those annoying people who was always able to eat what they wanted and not put on an ounce. That was until rls. Problem for me is that lack of sleep causes carb cravings on eve, I feel that I Need carbs to feel right. We also know that those low in dopamine also crave things like bannanas. Fatigue I think has affected my background activity level, even though I've kept my regular exercise regimen. This would have an effect on metabolism. Xtra carbs plus lowered metabolism equals weight gain. I've gained 1 and half stone in a year. That's a Biggie for me.

Let the forum know your findings, I'll be interested.



1 like

Thanks for your quick reply, Annty. Good for you, sticking with the exercise - so easy to give up on it when you're not feeling quite the thing. What meds are you on? Check the leaflet that comes with them - so many carry weight gain as a possible side effect, constipation, too, which is a big factor in weight gain. I am currently trying some non-pharmaceutical methods for controlling the symptoms, if I find they work with me, I'll put my findings up for the forum. And of course, I'll publish the findings of my weight survey here, as well.

1 like

Just starting prami,I've already posted under 'taking the plunge into meds' Intend to keep lowww....dose then swap if needed. Self help and alternatives no longer sufficient for me. Lots of info on this forum, real gold mine.

Hoping for a 'cure' or at least non-augmenting med in future. Maybe the pharmaceutical companies should sponsor us!

Keep going with your Wt. study.


1 like


What information do you need?


Nothing very complicated: Were you overweight or obese when RLS first presented? Are you overweight or obese now? What meds are you on, and has your weigh changed since starting them? Have you changed your meds, and have they affected your weight? Do you watch your diet - not just what you eat, but portion sizes? How much exercise do you take daily?

Thanks for your interest!


Another good reason to reduce other controllable risk factors.

1 like

It certainly focuses the mind.


You may also like...