Your Restless Legs Syndrome is Not a Disease. It’s a Blessing in Disguise (PART ONE)

ImageThis post was prompted by a study that was released in June, 2013 by the Harvard School of Public Health. This study revealed that out of a large subject group (one they had been monitoring for several years), of all the fatalities during that period, restless legs sufferers within this study group had a 40% higher mortality rate than the rest of the test subjects.

In my years of studying and researching all things inflammation / restless legs, I have never seen any study receive even remotely as much press as this one has.

If you haven’t read it, the results are alarming, and sobering.

Imagefrom USA Today “Restless Leg Syndrome Linked to Risk of Earlier Death”
“New research in the journal Neurology by Xiang Gao, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, shows that men with Restless Legs Syndrome faced a 40% higher risk of dying earlier than other men in the study.

In their study, Gao and colleagues tracked more than 18,000 men in their late 60s or older for eight years and found that among 690 with restless leg syndrome, 171, or 25% of the men with the disorder, died in that period. Fifteen percent without RLS died.

The exact cause for the disorder or why it would raise a person’s risk of dying earlier than normal has yet to be determined. That, Gao says, “is the next question to answer.”

Consequently, uncovering the explanation for RLS and its effects has proved tricky, especially when considering patients with multiple conditions. The answer will reveal itself only with more research and time, says William Ondo, professor of neurology at the University of Texas’ Health Science Center.

“The issue with these studies is when you look for other confounding illnesses it’s always problematic,” he says. “It’s always going to be debatable.””

“Prospective study of restless legs syndrome and mortality among men.” Yanping Li, PhD, Wei Wang, MD, PhD, John W. Winkelman, MD, PhD, Atul Malhotra, MD, Jing Ma, MD, PhD and Xiang Gao, MD, PhD. June 12, 2013, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318297eee0 Neurology 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318297eee0


The first thing I need to make ABSOLUTELY clear to you is that your twitching legs (or other body part), whether you want to call it Willis-Ekbom Disease or Restless Legs Syndrome … is NOT a disease.

Your twitching and rustling is a SYMPTOM of something more dangerous that’s going on inside your body, unknown to you – a CHRONIC INFLAMMATION that is constantly growing within.

It really bothers me that the name was changed from RLS to Willis-Ekbom Disease. I understand the need for funding, but by moving RLS from a “Syndrome” (which seems workable) to a disease, makes relief seem even more distant.


Your twitching legs, arms, neck … whatever it happens to be, is actually telling you something.

It’s nature at work. It’s part of a survival system. It is trying to save your life.

Below are excerpts from articles that will better explain the body’s warning system. For the sake of space I’m only going to list a few. THe full article can be found at:

from EXPERIENCE LIFE “What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You: Common signals you shouldn’t ignore.” by Catherine Guthrie
“The body is a magnificent machine. When things go awry, it generally doesn’t just shut down without warning, like an incandescent light bulb popping its filament. Instead it sends us little signals (think of them as gentle biological taps on the shoulder) letting us know that something is amiss. “Physical signs and symptoms are ways your body tries to alert you to deeper imbalances,” says Elson M. Haas, MD, a San Rafael, Calif., physician with a natural-medicine approach and author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts, 2006). “Taking the time to decipher the body’s codes is always better than simply popping a pill and hoping the symptoms just go away. Ideally, we want to get to the causes of problems, not just suppress the end result of ill health.”

But interpreting the body’s quirky Morse code requires a deep level of body awareness that, like any skill, takes time and practice to perfect.”

Imagefrom “How Listening to Your Body Can Save Your Life” by Sheryl W.
“It is important that we all listen to our bodies to stay healthy. Our bodies send us signals to let us know when there is something wrong. Knowing what these signals are and what to do about them can save your life. Ignoring these signals can lead to a potentially minor problem becoming life threatening.

from Psychology Today “Do You Have to Get Sick to Slow Down?” by Paula Davis-Laack, JD, MAPP
“How is your body telling you to slow down? When your body is too stressed, it sends you signals – frequent colds, digestive issues, nervousness, high blood pressure, shakiness, muscle tension, allergies, and so much more. The key is to pay attention to these signals AND discuss them with your health care provider.”

from The Wall Street Journal “What Your Body Is Telling You” by Melinda Beck
“The body speaks volumes about what ails it — from obvious warnings like a fever that accompanies an infection to subtle clues like losing hair on the toes, which can be an early sign of vascular disease. Some signs that seem minor can warn of a serious disorder. Small yellow bumps on the eyelid, for instance, may be fatty deposits that signal high cholesterol, which in turn raises the risk of heart disease.

It’s important to pay attention to your body. Knowledge is power.”

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