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September 14, 1999


Question from Illinois, USA:

I have heard about a condition called restless leg syndrome and that it occurs in diabetics. What is RLS, what causes it, and where can I get more info on it? Being a Type 1 diabetic, I'm concerned about anything that might affect me, now or in the future.


The restless leg syndrome is a common and frequently underdiagnosed condition that characterised by irresistible discomfort in the legs usually occurring at night and relieved by movement. It was first described as Ekbom’s Syndrome in 1944 and has since been described in association with a wide variety of conditions including diabetic polyneuropathy. There is a huge literature on the subject and if you want to explore it you might search in PubMed under ‘Diabetes and the restless leg syndrome’. Better still, if you can manage it, would be to go to a medical library and get one of the librarians to help you search in MEDLINE for a review article in English which you could then look at in detail.

Having said all this, I can’t help thinking that you would do better to concentrate your energies on meticulous blood glucose control rather than on a rather unlikely complication.