Celiac Disease Screening Recommended for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) with Iron Deficiency
Doctors are recommending simple, low-cost blood tests to screen for celiac disease in patients who have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) with low serum ferritin, but who otherwise show no clear cause for iron deficiency.
Low iron reserves are a known risk factor Restless Leg Syndrome, as blood iron levels below 45-50ng/mL have been tied to more severe expressions of RLS. In fact, iron levels are so important to assessing RLS, that it is now common for doctors to test blood ferritin levels when first assessing Restless Leg Syndrome. Celiac disease is a common genetic disorder of the immune system that can cause iron deficiency.
Doctors S. Manchanda, C.R. Davies, and D. Picchietti of the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently set out to determine if celiac disease might play a role in iron deficiency in patients with Restless Leg Syndrome.
The doctors evaluated a series of four patients with Restless Leg Syndrome and blood ferritin below 25ng/mL, who had shown positive blood tests for celiac disease. Doctors confirmed celiac disease for all four patients via duodenal biopsy and positive reaction to a gluten-free diet. In each case, Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms improved, with two patients discontinuing Restless Leg Syndrome medication and two responding positively without medication.
The doctors are recommending simple, low-cost blood tests to screen for celiac disease in patients who have Restless Leg Syndrome with low serum ferritin, but who otherwise show no clear cause for iron deficiency.
They also note that diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease is likely to improve the outcome for those patients with Restless Leg Syndrome, as well as to better identify people at risk for the significant long-term complications associated with celiac disease.
Restless Leg Syndrome is just the latest neurological disorder to show a connection to celiac disease. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.
This was an article reprinted from http://www.celiac.com/.
With my first pregnancy, 21 years ago. It was found that I had low ferritin levels. I had to take a prescription iron capsule, in addition to my prenatal vitamin. The doctor took me off the vitamins after the pregnancy.
Needless to say, I had NO energy! Especially not what you would expect from a young girl.
Fast forward seven years to my next pregnancy. Same thing. In fact the doctor tested my blood once a month because my iron levels were dangerously low.
Doctors did not check my iron with third pregnancy, even though I complained of overwhelming fatigue at every appointment.
Finally, I went to an environmental allergist with complaints of headaches, hair loss, and chronic and debilitating fatigue. My youngest daughter, had the restless leg syndrome. She even had it in utero! It was due to celiac and iron deficiency.
Again, ferritin is only the iron protein. It is not routinely checked. If you suspect this, ask your doctor for a complete iron panel blood test.
After being on a prescription iron capsule with added vitamin C and B12, for several years, my ferritin levels have finally reached an optimum level. And the headaches, hair loss, and most fatigue is gone.
My doctor did not suspect celiac. I researched it, my daughter had an ELISA food allergy test done showing she was allergic to wheat and gluten. Then I researched celiac disease some more. I started a strict GF/CF diet and our bodies have begun to heal.
Many children with autism and other spectrum disorders have celiac disease. My daughter's autistic tendencies have greatly improved with the GF/CF diet.
My hope is that doctors will seriously consider celiac when diagnosing their patients. I hope that people will become more aware of celiac. It's a life long condition, but it does not require prescription medication and can be helped with diet.
There are many different symptoms for celiac, for more information, google it. There is a treasure trove of information out there.