Not Just One Or The Other: PAD and RLS

In certain cases, one health complication may act as the initial fall of a domino, spurring on a chain reaction of different — albeit connected — challenges that all compound into one overall source of pain or discomfort.

Venous complications are one such example of this phenomenon; Thus, we have already explored the relationship between varicose veins and restless leg syndrome (RLS).

But did you know that peripheral artery disease (PAD) is also linked to RLS in a similar fashion?

Understanding the Relationship

For many years, medical researchers believed RLS to be a neuropathic issue (related to the nerves) rather than a venous or arterial one, thereby eliminating PAD as a potential catalyst for such a diagnosis.

However, the American College of Cardiology has confirmed that restless leg syndrome is among the most common of PAD symptoms, occurring alongside other such difficulties as leg cramping, ankle swelling, and more.

While research concerning this relationship is still ongoing today, one study has determined that, as the endothelium (a membrane inside of the blood vessels responsible for vascular relaxation, blood clotting, and more) begins to function improperly, blood flow becomes impaired. Thus, the onset of RLS may occur alongside microvascular deterioration and decreased oxygenation.

Understanding What May Help

By concluding that RLS and PAD are associated, one can find relief in that knowledge that to treat one is to simultaneously treat the other.

“RLS symptoms were frequent in PAD but were reduced by a pain-free walking exercise aimed at inducing peripheral aerobic adaptations,” another 2019 study found. “The concomitant recovery of sleep and mobility may represent a synergistic action against the cardiovascular risk in PAD.”

In other words, low-intensity exercises combined with adequate sleep routines may serve to strengthen the legs in the vein, providing both nighttime and daytime relief for leg-related symptoms. Otherwise, such a comprehensive commitment to wellness may also prevent the onset of either/both.

Understanding When To Ask For Help

Tackling a health complication is one of the greatest challenges we can face when we go in without adequate context or knowledge. For example, if you do not know you are living with PAD, you may not think to associate nightly RLS symptoms with a deeper underlying issue.

That’s why, here at Duval Vascular Center, we aim to empower our patients through education and in-depth diagnostic testing.

Using non-invasive QuantaFlo™ Testing, we can easily determine whether or not you may have or be at risk for PAD. Additionally, by sitting down with you during one of our FREE screenings, we can help you to better understand and treat any existing symptoms of RLS you may be facing.

It’s time to find answers and it’s time to find relief. In other words, it’s time to contact Duval Vascular Center by calling (904) 518-1398! Whatever your needs, your health is our priority.