Restless Leg Syndrom

What is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder causing an intense, often irresistible urge to move your legs. RLS is brought on by lying down or sitting for long periods . Although RLS can occur at any age, it is more common in older adults and affects women more than men.

Restless legs syndrome then: is a neurological disorder that make you have an overwhelming urge to move your legs. (Trouble sitting still for long periods).

What is the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?

It is uncomfortable sensations in legs and an irresistible urge to move them to relieve the sensations. The condition causes an uncomfortable, “itchy,” “pins and needles,” or “creepy crawly” feeling in the legs.

Restless legs syndrome

What is Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)?

Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep. The majority of RLS patients also have PLMS witnessed during sleep. Restless legs syndrome and PLMS may cause you to get fewer hours of sleep each night. 

Can RLS/PLMS make me sleepy?

Most people with RLS have fragmented sleep, with difficulty falling asleep and repetitive jerking motions that can wake them up. Therefore, the accumulated sleep loss from restless legs syndrome can make you excessively sleepy during the daytime. This may cause you to be irritable and make concentration more difficult. People with restless legs syndrome are more likely to have depression or anxiety.

What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?

Several medical problems can contribute to developing RLS, including iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, renal (kidney) disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain, tingling or loss of feeling in the extremities). Pregnant women, dialysis patients, and those taking antidepressants, sedating antihistamines or anti-nausea medications
may develop RLS.

Low Iron Levels: Low brain iron metabolism may be a critical pathway in the pathophysiology of RLS. 

Genetic Factors are strong predictors of RLS. Most people develop restless legs syndrome after age 45. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop the disorder. If you have a family member with restless legs syndrome, you are more likely to develop the symptoms before you are 45 years old.

Diabetes: This lifelong condition can damage blood vessels and nerves that affect leg muscles causing restless legs syndrome such as those with peripheral neuropathy.

Pregnancy: Many women have restless legs syndrome when they are pregnant. It usually goes away within a month of giving birth. 

leg cramps and restless leg syndrome

Medications: Some medications can cause restless legs syndrome or make it worse: 

Diagnosing Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Talk to a sleep medicine physician if you think you have restless legs syndrome. The physician will ask you about your medical history and if you are on any medications. Your doctor may order blood tests, including measuring iron. In some cases, he may recommend a sleep study.

Your doctor may request a sleep study to ensure that you do not have obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders that may be causing sleep disruption. 

treatment of restless legs syndrome

Treating Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS):

RLS is treated in different ways, depending on the intensity of the symptoms. In some cases, RLS is temporary and resolves when other conditions are treated. RLS is either primary (inherited or genetic) or secondary. If secondary causes cannot be treated (like
in renal failure or peripheral neuropathy), medications to manage RLS symptoms are prescribed.The sleep physician may recommend lifestyle changes or medications

Behavioral Changes like : 

First Quit Smoking and Drink Less Caffeine and Alcohol: By avoiding these substances, you may be able to help your restless legs syndrome.

Exercise: Regular exercise such as walking or riding an exercise bike may relieve the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Furthermore, exercising too much or at too great of an intensity can actually increase symptoms. 

Stress Reduction Techniques: Stress can aggravate restless legs syndrome. In addition, Relaxation-promoting activities such as yoga, meditation, or other techniques can reduce the symptoms. This approach is especially helpful before bed. 

Finally, Medication: Sleep specialists normally treat RLS with a combination of pharmacological treatments and behavioral advices. 

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