Relationship between Restless Leg Syndrome and Obesity; A Cross-sectional Study

Restless Leg Syndrome and Obesity


  • Laraib Aqsa Malik Physiotherapy Department, Hafiz Surgical Hospital, Mian Channu, Pakistan
  • Ammara Jabeen 2Rashid Latif College of Allied Health Siences, Rashid Latif Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Asha Javaid Social Security Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Maida Chaudhary Hamza Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Asna Waseem Central Park Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Qasim Idrees Central Park Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan



obesity, relationship, restless leg syndrome


Background: Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that is recognized by an uncontrollable urge to move legs, mostly due to an uncomfortable sensation. These symptoms become worsen at night and might lead to sleep disturbances. Obese people tend to have decreased dopamine D2 receptor accessibility in their brains. Therefore, obesity can be a risk factor for restless leg syndrome. Objective: To determine the relationship between restless leg syndrome and obesity. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study in which 132 obese people were recruited in the study using a convenient sampling technique. The questionnaire used in this study was the international restless legs syndrome study group rating scale. Both males and females aged between 20 to 45 years were included. Obese pregnant females and obese people who suffered from other chronic musculoskeletal disorders were excluded from this study. All the participants were recruited in this study strictly considering the inclusion criteria of this study. Written consent forms in Urdu and English were employed by the researcher for the signed consent of all the participants. Frequency and percentage were calculated for categorical variables while mean and standard deviation were calculated for qualitative variables. Results: Out of 132 obese people, 57(43.2%) reported having severe discomfort in their legs due to this syndrome while 66(50%) reported suffering from the symptoms twice to thrice a week and 51(38.6%) suffer from these symptoms four to five days a week, which is a higher rate of frequency. This clearly showed a strong relationship showing that obesity might be a risk factor for contributing to the presence of restless leg syndrome in obese people. Conclusion: This study concludes that obesity might be a risk factor for restless leg syndrome. There is a relationship between obesity and restless leg syndrome with increasing age. The occurrence of restless leg syndrome interrelates with obesity and this study showed that the people who suffered from this syndrome also suffer from difficulty in activities of daily living, anxiety, irregular sleep patterns and deep pain in legs and arms which partially released on movement.


Allen RP. Restless leg syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease pathophysiology. Sleep medicine clinics 2015; 10(3): 207-14.


Allen RP, Picchietti D, Hening WA, Trenkwalder C, Walters AS, Montplaisi J. Restless legs syndrome: diagnostic criteria, special considerations, and epidemiology: a report from the restless legs syndrome diagnosis and epidemiology workshop at the National Institutes of Health. Sleep medicine 2003; 4(2): 101-19.

Allen RP, Walters AS, Montplaisir J, et al. Restless legs syndrome prevalence and impact: REST general population study. Archives of internal medicine 2005; 165(11): 1286-92.


Symvoulakis E, Anyfantakis D, Lionis C. Restless legs syndrome: literature review. Sao Paulo Medical Journal 2010; 128: 167-70.

Bogan RK, Cheray JA. Restless legs syndrome: a review of diagnosis and management in primary care. Postgraduate medicine 2013; 125(3): 99-111.

Allen RP. Controversies and challenges in defining the etiology and pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome. The American journal of medicine 2007; 120(1): S13-S21.

Walters AS, Aldrich MS, Allen R, et al. Toward a better definition of the restless legs syndrome. Movement disorders: official journal of the Movement Disorder Society 1995; 10(5): 634-42.

Hening W, Walters AS, Allen RP, Montplaisir J, Myers A, Ferini-Strambi L. Impact, diagnosis and treatment of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in a primary care population: the REST (RLS epidemiology, symptoms, and treatment) primary care study. Sleep medicine 2004; 5(3): 237-46.

Abetz L, Allen R, Follet A, et al. Evaluating the quality of life of patients with restless legs syndrome. Clinical therapeutics 2004; 26(6): 925-35.

Berger K, Luedemann J, Trenkwalder C, John U, Kessler C. Sex and the risk of restless legs syndrome in the general population. Archives of internal medicine 2004; 164(2): 196-202.


Aukerman MM, Aukerman D, Bayard M, Tudiver F, Thorp L, Bailey B. Exercise and restless legs syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 2006; 19(5): 487-93.


Silber MH, Girish M, Izurieta R. Pramipexole in the management of restless legs syndrome: an extended study. Sleep 2003; 26(7): 819-21.

Garcia-Borreguero D, Larrosa O, De la Llave Y, Verger K, Masramon X, Hernandez G. Treatment of restless legs syndrome with gabapentin: a double-blind, cross-over study. Neurology 2002; 59(10): 1573-9.


Saletu M, Anderer P, Saletu-Zyhlarz G, Hauer C, Saletu B. Acute placebo-controlled sleep laboratory studies and clinical follow-up with pramipexole in restless legs syndrome. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience 2002; 252: 185-94.


Batool-Anwar S, Li Y, De Vito K, Malhotra A, Winkelman J, Gao X. Lifestyle factors and risk of restless legs syndrome: prospective cohort study. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 2016; 12(2): 187-94.

Wang G-J, Volkow ND, Logan J, et al. Brain dopamine and obesity. The Lancet 2001; 357(9253): 354-7.

Ohayon MM, O’Hara R, Vitiello MV. Epidemiology of restless legs syndrome: a synthesis of the literature. Sleep medicine reviews 2012; 16(4): 283-95.

Luginbuehl M, Kohler WC. Screening and evaluation of sleep disorders in children and adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics 2009; 18(4): 825-38.


Lin S, Zhang H, Gao T, et al. The association between obesity and restless legs syndrome: A systemic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Journal of affective disorders 2018; 235: 384-91.

Gao X, Schwarzschild MA, Wang H, Ascherio A. Obesity and restless legs syndrome in men and women. Neurology 2009; 72(14): 1255-61.


Yildiz D, Buyukkoyuncu N, Kilic AK, et al. Obesity: a possible risk factor for restless legs syndrome. Neurological research 2017; 39(12): 1044-8.

Group IRLSS. Validation of the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group rating scale for restless legs syndrome. Sleep medicine 2003; 4(2): 121-32.

Allen RP, Kushida CA, Atkinson MJ, Consortium RQ. Factor analysis of the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group's scale for restless legs severity. Sleep medicine 2003; 4(2): 133-5.

Abetz L, Arbuckle R, Allen RP, et al. The reliability, validity and responsiveness of the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group rating scale and subscales in a clinical-trial setting. Sleep medicine 2006; 7(4): 340-9.

De Vito K, Li Y, Batool‐Anwar S, Ning Y, Han J, Gao X. Prospective study of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and risk of restless legs syndrome. Movement Disorders 2014; 29(8): 1044-52.

Allen RP, Stillman P, Myers AJ. Physician-diagnosed restless legs syndrome in a large sample of primary medical care patients in western Europe: prevalence and characteristics. Sleep medicine 2010; 11(1): 31-7.

Picchietti D, Allen RP, Walters AS, Davidson JE, Myers A, Ferini-Strambi L. Restless legs syndrome: prevalence and impact in children and adolescents—the Peds REST study. Pediatrics 2007; 120(2): 253-66.

Winkelman JW. The evoked heart rate response to periodic leg movements of sleep. Sleep 1999; 22(5): 575-80.

Baran RT, Atar M, Pirgon Ö, Filiz S, Filiz M. Restless legs syndrome and poor sleep quality in obese children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology 2018; 10(2): 131.

DOI: 10.4274/jcrpe.5165




How to Cite

Malik, L. A., Jabeen, A. ., Javaid, A. ., Chaudhary, M., Waseem, A. ., & Idrees, M. Q. . (2023). Relationship between Restless Leg Syndrome and Obesity; A Cross-sectional Study: Restless Leg Syndrome and Obesity. The Healer Journal of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, 3(6), 603–610.





Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>