8 Important Facts You Should Know About Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes discomfort in the legs. You may also experience burning, tingling, and the urge to keep moving your legs. For a person with RLS, it becomes impossible to get enough sleep.

Here are some more facts about RLS that you should know.


1. RLS can be linked to iron deficiency

People who suffer from restless leg syndrome often have low iron levels. If you experience RLS than taking iron supplements can be helpful. It is also important to correct your diet to receive enough iron from your food. Before taking supplements you should consult a foot doctor to undergo an examination and take an iron level test.

2. Vein problems may cause RLS

Vein diseases are often associated with restless leg syndrome. Varicose veins cause discomfort because of a build-up of fluids and toxins. This discomfort becomes especially intensive in the evening and at night. For this reason, the sufferer constantly moves their legs in an attempt to alleviate these unpleasant sensations.

3. Pregnancy increase the risk of RLS

Restless leg syndrome is a common pregnancy complaint. It affects 3 out of 10 pregnant women. RLS is most likely to appear during the last three months of pregnancy. This condition in pregnant women is often associated with lower folate and iron levels.

4. Genetics is a risk factor

Restless leg syndrome is a disease that often affects the whole family. Having one close relative with RLS increases your risk of this disorder by up to 50%. Genetic RLS most often appears in people before the age of 45.

5. Nerve damage may cause RLS

Peripheral neuropathy is a spread cause of restless leg syndrome. It often develops as a result of an infection, diabetes or injury. In this case, to relieve RLS symptoms you need to treat the root cause of the problem.

6. RLS may cause periodic limb movements during  sleep

Periodic limb movement during sleep is often associated with restless legs syndrome. It affects about 80% of people with RLS. Periodical limb movements are involuntary leg or arm spasms. These spasms may happen every 15-50 seconds and last the whole night.

Spasms may also cause the heart rate and blood pressure to rise. This increases your risk of heart disease over time.

7. RLS treatment aid at relieving the symptoms

Your doctor may recommend non-pharmaceutical ways to relieve symptoms. These recommendations often include reducing caffeine consumption, quitting smoking, exercising and regularly massaging your legs.

Then there is the medical treatment. The doctor may prescribe you medicines that raise dopamine levels in the brain. Such drugs help to relieve discomfort. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-seizure drugs to calm your muscle movements.

In cases of severe restless leg syndrome, doctors prescribe opioids. They tend to have a pronounced effect in alleviating most RLS symptoms. However, this option is the last resort in RLS treatment.

The same goes for the sedatives called benzodiazepines. Their use may improve your sleep but you also will be sleepy all day.

8. Primary RLS appear for unknown causes

Primary restless leg syndrome is a neurological disease. It is very complex to find any explanations when dealing with the brain. With idiopathic RLS doctors just cannot find the underlying reason why this condition affects someone.

One theory states that primary RLS is associated with malfunctions in the dopamine pathway. Dopamine is necessary for maintaining and creating muscle movements. So dopamine malfunctions may lead to uncontrollable movements involved in disorders like RLS.

There are no laboratory examinations or tests to detect restless leg syndrome. It can be diagnosed only based on a special set of symptoms.

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