Sleep Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about sleep.

How is restless legs syndrome connected to the brain?

Research suggests that the main cause of restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a misuse or lack of iron in the brain, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

The brain uses the iron to control some brain activities and to make dopamine, which works in the part of the brain that controls movement, according to the NIH.

There are a variety of conditions that can affect the amount of iron in the brain and how it’s used, according to the NIH, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Iron deficiency
  • Kidney failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Having any of these conditions can increase your risk of also having RLS.

Talk to your doctor for more information about RLS and its connection with the brain.

Learn more:

Source: Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Joseph Allen, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Mansi Amin, MD, SureCare Medical Center; Irina Gendler, MD, Troy Primary Care Physicians; Aaron Kaibas, DO, Upper Valley Cardiology; Christopher Lauricella, MD, Family Medicine of Vandalia; Angela Long-Prentice, MD, Northwest Dayton Physicians; Erin Mathews, MD, Vandalia Medical Center; Katrina Paulding, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; Melinda Ruff, MD, Centerville Family Medicine; Tammy Taylor, MD, The Pediatric Group; Pam Werner, MD, Miami Valley Primary Care; J. Layne Moore, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute; Mark Ringle, MD, Beavercreek Family Physicians

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