Restless leg syndrome is very undiagnosed in the community and can be described as a pattern of regular agitated impulsiveness to move legs (and sometimes arms) to relieve a building painful stress sensation in that limb. It is also associated with periodic leg movement syndrome seen during sleep phrases. There is a strong association between people with these syndromes and chronic pain particularly in multiple sites.
Studies have shown that there is a strong link between restless leg syndrome and iron deficiency (iron levels less than 35mcg/L and/or ferritin levels less than 15mcg/L), and one should aim for levels greater than 70mcg of iron in blood tests.
Iron is associated with dopamine (a feel good hormone) synthesis and a reduction in this hormone leads to a predisposition to amplified levels of pain. Studies have also shown that there are links between low dopamine levels and chronic widespread pain, fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome.
So if you have restless legs, get your iron levels checked and increase the amount of iron rich food that you eat. If you would like help from our friendly dietician, call the clinic on 02 6282 6240.