Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
Several published studies have described strong associations between restless leg syndrome (RLS) and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN); for example Lopes et al. Diabetes Care. (pubmed.gov/200516249531). In a recent study published in 2013 by Sadosky and colleagues (pubmed.gov/23403729), half of people with severe painful diabetic neuropathy reported having RLS. The biological reason for the RLS and DPN association is unknown. However, a study just published in the journal Neurology (pubmed.gov/24789861) may shed some light on this important question. Salminen and colleagues demonstrated peripheral hypoxia in patients with RLS. This finding promotes the hypothesis that peripheral microvascular abnormalities may contribute to the development of RLS. DPN is a microvascular complication of diabetes, and therefore the results reported in the Saliminen study raise the possibility that diabetic microvascular disease may cause both DPN and RLS. This interesting hypothesis may suggest novel therapeutic approaches to both conditions.