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6 Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome

6 Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome

Sleep matters. Your body needs it to recover and fight common conditions like heart disease, plus a good night’s rest helps you to focus and feel your best. That’s why restless legs syndrome (RLS) can be so problematic. If your legs are uncomfortable whenever you lie down, sleep can be elusive.

Our expert providers at Vascular & Interventional Associates, serving northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, can treat restless legs. In addition to relieving your symptoms so you can get the sleep you need, we also want to help you understand this condition. Let’s look at six of the most common causes of RLS.

Iron deficiency

Low iron levels have been linked to RLS. This stems back to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in your brain’s control of muscle movement, among other things. When you’re iron deficient, your dopamine levels can drop, limiting muscle control in your legs and contributing to RLS. 

Chronic venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency affects about one-third of people with restless legs syndrome. Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in the veins of your legs don’t work the way that they should. Instead of controlling blood flow and ensuring blood returns to your heart, weak or damaged valves allow some of the blood to flow backward and accumulate in your veins. 

Fortunately, if malfunctioning veins contribute to your RLS symptoms, our Vascular & Interventional Associates team can treat those problem veins by closing them. Then, your body reroutes blood flow to other, healthy veins, which restores proper blood flow and helps ease your restless legs.  


When your blood sugar levels stay too high for too long, it can cause damage to your nerves, particularly those in your feet and legs. That nerve damage, also called neuropathy, can contribute to restless legs syndrome. 

Low vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a role in your sleep quality, and recent studies have connected low levels of vitamin D to restless legs syndrome, too. 

Kidney problems

Kidney problems, including kidney failure, heighten your risk for low iron levels, which in turn can drop your dopamine levels, contributing to RLS symptoms. 


Roughly one-third of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia also deal with restless legs syndrome. Researchers aren’t entirely sure why RLS is more common in people with fibromyalgia, but they believe that treating RLS can help those individuals get better sleep, fighting the fatigue that so often accompanies fibromyalgia. 

Whatever’s causing your restless legs, we can help. To get started with the right RLS treatment for you, call our office or request an appointment online today.

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