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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it common to have mitochondrial disease and restless legs syndrome?

    I have been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease and have exercise intolerance. I can't move about much to help the restless legs sensation. Is this common for the 2 disorders to corelate and influence each other?
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    Dr David Cunnington

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Specialist sleep physician delivering a high standard of clinical care to clients with complex sleep problems and promoting sleep health through research, education and advocacy. … View Profile

    Although there is not a lot of data on this, as mitochondrial disorders are relatively rare, restless legs symptoms can occur as part of mitochondrial disorders. 

    Whilst moving or walking around is generally helpful, if people can't move about much, other options to treat restless legs are massage or rubbing the legs. This strategy is commonly used in other cultures eg India. There are also some devices available that vibrate under the calves and can reduce restless legs symptoms. Medications can also be used if restless legs symptoms are particularly troubling. 

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