RLS and Obesity

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bigu47
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RLS and Obesity

Post by bigu47 »

Hello Fellow Members,

Links to the topic of RLS and Obesity, any comments? Granted, the suggestion that it's early in the research stage and additional studies are necessary:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNe ... 011&page=1


Lee

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Post by ViewsAskew »

I saw the headline yesterday and avoided it. Because it annoyed me, quite honestly.

I truly feel these association studies miss the big picture and forget to ask: did the person with RLS and a big belly have the RLS first or the big belly first?

In the case of every single person with RLS that I know personally and long enough to know if they are heavy or not, many are NOT heavy and those that are seem to have gotten heavy AFTER the RLS.

I've had it since a teen. Not sure what my weight was at the exact time, but I know I wore between a size 7 and 11 in high school and am relatively tall. Definitely not heavy. My mom is a size 10. Not heavy. My sister and I are heavy now, but the RLS came first. My grandmother was rail thin when diagnosed - she did get heavy, but that was after TB treatment in the 50's. My brother? Thin. My uncle? Thin. My other uncle? Thin. My husband? Thin. My husband's sister? Varied, but never heavy.

So, not sure what it's saying. If someone will look at it and see if having RLS and low dopamine encourages wieght gain for some reason, great. If they are going to blame us for being fat? I'm annoyed.

Let's hope it's the former and that none of our doctors make the latter assumption.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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SquirmingSusan
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Post by SquirmingSusan »

Interesting. Both obesity and RLS seem to be linked to low dopamine levels, according to the information in the article. It doesn't seem to be a cause and effect thing. I guess that makes sense. But, it doesn't mean that doctors won't be telling us to lose weight so that our RLS goes away...
Susan

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Post by ViewsAskew »

Since buproprion (Wellbutrin in the US) increases dopamine (or that's the assumption) and many people lose weight when taking it (but not all), low dopamine and weight gain makes some logical sense.

But, as you noted Susan, many people will not read that and think that it's the low dopamine. Even the title of the article implies (as does the text) that there is a cause and effect: you have a large waist, you get RLS. That's not at all what I infer, but many people will.

The good news about is is a double edge sword. Again, it's one more thing that makes RLS so important to study and figure out. If it is indeed responsible for causing at least some of us to put on weight along with the blood pressure and heart attack issues, it's definitely a risky disease to have! The flip side is that if we thought we had insurance problems before, we're really looking at them now. Soon none of us will be insurable unless we take a job at a corporation where they cannot exclude us.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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Aiken
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Post by Aiken »

Well, I can understand your frustration, but I have to say the article was otherwise remarkably unslanted and informative.

By the way, they do mention at one point that being overweight can mess with your dopamine production, so there may be something to the study's hypothesis. Being overweight can mess with a lot of things, really, and a lot of things mess with RLS, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's even more than one path from A to B.

They also say that it's not clear which direction the arrow points. Obesity promotes RLS, or RLS promotes obesity? So someone there does agree with your skepticism. I do too, for that matter.

Really, it's not a bad article. There's also an inline link to a related video, with entirely sensible content. (Look for "Tingling Sensation Keeps Me Up at Night?" on the first page.) If you haven't gone through the entire article yet, give it a chance.

Personally, I think someone high up at ABC must have RLS or something.
Disclaimer: I often talk about what I do and what works for me, but these are specific to me and you should always consult a healthcare professional before trying these things yourself, lest you endanger your health or life.

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woodsie357
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Post by woodsie357 »

well I do know that the hormone that regulates weight is made while your sleeping. If your RLS keeps you from sleeping then your body doesn't make enough of this hormone making you feel hungrier, making you want to eat more and gaining more weight. In turn having more weight on your body puts more pressure on it. On your joints, on your back, on your arms. Making it harder to exercise, so the food you eat is more likely to stay on, you're to tired to go run 5 miles etc. If RLS was a chicken and Weight was the Egg... I'd say the chicken came first. IMHO.
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jumpy
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Post by jumpy »

Couldn't have said it better myself. RLS makes you not sleep. When you're not sleeping the tendency to eat sneaks in. Then you don't work off the extra calories. So you gain weight.

I've had RLS as long as I can remember. I didn't start gaining weight until it got really bad and I wasn't sleeping. Although it might also happen to overweight people because they're simply overweight.

Who knows....Pat

bigu47
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RLS and Obesity

Post by bigu47 »

As a follow-up to my original post:

Personally, yours truly "discovered" RLS in 2000 on a two week vacation in Greece and Turkey, have had RLS since then.

I don't have a "gut" as the pictures portray even though my weight usually goes up five to ten pounds in the Winter since my jogging and golf are curtailed, but still walk.

Bottom line, more research for conclusive linkage.

Lee

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Post by ViewsAskew »

Today in my inbox was the Google alert I get each day about RLS topics.

There were 5 or 6 of them, each about this, and 2 or 3 of them said: big waistline CAUSES RLS.

That's what my concern was....that people would only read the headline and not read the article and would misinterpret.

Aiken, you are completely right - the article was balanced....but that doesn't mean people will read it thoroughly and hear what was said.

It's possible that in the non-hereditary RLS that a large waistline does something that kicks off RLS, including the lower dopamine production, so that people without RLS in their family history ARE at a greater risk.

I just don't want any of us to get the lecture...you know, Ann, if you'd just lose a few pounds, that RLS might go away. It was here when I was thin, it's here now that I'm fat. And it's been here at every weight in between.
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woodsie357
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Post by woodsie357 »

that title pisses me off :evil: I don't believe it either, I think RLS can make you gain weight because of what I mentioned above, and I think it's ignorant to title an article like that. :x :evil: :x

Here is one example but it's related to RLS meds. I was 174lbs after having my 4th baby. A few weeks after she was born I was put on Neurontin, 2 months later I had gained 60lbs. I stopped the neurontin and lost 60lbs over 8 months. I had RLS before I had RLS after. GRRRR
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Sleuth
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Post by Sleuth »

I just gained 25 pounds in the past four months. I find that eating helps control the RLS. Of course, this is only while I'm engaged in eating.

Does that happen to anyone else?

Most of my weight is around my waist and always has been. I had a mild heart attack a few years ago. They said that weight around your waist is very bad for your heart also.

My weight has fluctuated all my life, so I don't think I'd be a good person to use for this type of study.

mackjergens
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weight and rls

Post by mackjergens »

I am 62 yrs old. have had rls all my life even as a child. But have never been obese. In younger yrs, I was maybe 10 pounds over, and at one time was down 105 pounds. About 5 yrs ago, I gained like 50 pounds, developed diabeties, but never did the low or high weight change one thing about my rls. I continued to have rls every single night.

So in my opinion, they are way off base with the weight thing,but that is just my opinion based on my life with rls.

ViewsAskew
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Post by ViewsAskew »

Sleuth, there are a lot of studies showing that weight gain and sleep disorders are tied together. I often put on weight when the RLS is acting out and my medication isn't working as well as it normally does.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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coaster
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Post by coaster »

Weight and sleep disorders definitely have a tie, but my take is that RLS isn't a sleep disorder, it's a movement disorder in the same class of disorders such as Parkinson's, and why neurologists commonly deal with RLS whereas sleep medicine doctors deal with sleep disorders. Your movement disorder just happens to interfere with sleep.

To add my own weight (pun) to the comments already made here, I had RLS back when I was skinny. I'm overweight at the moment, but my RLS definitely came first and gaining weight had absolutely no impact one way or another on the symptoms.

It sounds to me like another one of those misguided studies that starts out with a premise then looks for evidence to support that premise (ignoring all other)
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ViewsAskew
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Post by ViewsAskew »

RLS is classified as both a sleep disorder AND a movement disorder. That's because the movement prevents sleep.

I have to say, I'm not sure if the study tied the two together, but the people in that first article did not....but most others who've published articles in the subsequent days have indeed said, "Fat belly? You'll get RLS!"

OK, maybe not that boldly, but that was the gist.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

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