Restless Legs Syndrome – Condition

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Overview

Restless legs syndrome is characterized by unpleasant or painful feelings in the legs, as well as an insatiable desire to move them. People with restless leg syndrome (RLS) are categorized as having a sleep disorder since the symptoms are caused by resting and trying to sleep, and as having a movement disorder because they are compelled to move their legs in order to alleviate symptoms. It is described as a neurological sensory disease, with symptoms that are generated by the brain itself. It happens in the evening or at night, when you are sitting or lying down on a chair. Moving about helps to relieve the unpleasant feeling for a short time.

Even at a young age, it is possible to acquire restless legs syndrome, commonly known as “Willis-Ekbom sickness,” and the disease often worsens with increasing age. It has the potential to induce sleep disturbance, which may make it difficult to carry out daily tasks effectively.

Simple self-care techniques and dietary modifications may be effective in alleviating symptoms. Many individuals who suffer with RLS get relief from medication.

Causes

RLS is often associated with no known etiology. The imbalance of the brain chemical “dopamine,” which transmits signals to regulate muscular action, is suspected to be the origin of the illness, according to the researchers.

Heredity: Restless legs syndrome runs in families in certain cases, particularly if the disease manifests itself before the age of 40.

Pregnancy: When you are pregnant or going through hormonal changes, your RLS signs and symptoms may temporarily increase. When a woman is pregnant, she is more likely to have RLS for the first time. Symptoms typically disappear after childbirth.

Risk Factors: RLS may manifest itself at any age, even throughout infancy. The condition becomes more prevalent as one’s age increases, and it is more prevalent in women than in men.

A serious underlying medical condition is not always linked with restless leg syndrome (RLS). However, it is sometimes linked with other disorders, such as the ones listed below.

Peripheral neuropathy is a neurological condition that affects the peripheral nerves. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes and alcoholism may cause nerve damage in your hands and feet, which can lead to numbness and tingling.

Deficiency in iron. Iron deficiency may develop or exacerbate RLS even if there is no evidence of anemia. The possibility of iron deficiency arises in the presence of a history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, as well as the presence of heavy menstrual cycles or the need of frequent blood donations.

Kidney failure is a medical emergency. Having renal failure increases your risk of having iron shortage, which frequently manifests as anemia. When your kidneys are not working correctly, the amount of iron in your blood may drop. This, as well as other changes in the body’s chemistry, may contribute to or exacerbate RLS.

People with spinal cord disorders are more prevalent as restless legs syndrome is associated with lesions on the spinal cord that have formed because of damage or injury to the cord. Restless leg syndrome may also occur if you have previously had spinal cord anesthesia, such as a spinal block, which increases your chance of developing the condition (RLS).

Symptoms

The primary RLS symptom is a strong desire to move one’s legs. The following are common signs of RLS that occur in conjunction with it:

Sensations that begin to appear after a period of relaxation. When you have been laying down or sitting for a long period, such as in a vehicle, aircraft, or movie theater, you will usually feel the feeling begin.

Movement brings about a sense of relaxation. Movement, such as extending your legs or taking a stroll, may be beneficial in alleviating the sensations associated with RLS symptoms.

Symptoms become more severe in the evening. The majority of the symptoms manifest themselves at night.

Leg twitching is persistent during the whole night time period. Perhaps restless leg syndrome is linked to another, more frequent disorder known as periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes your legs to twitch and kick during the night, and perhaps throughout the whole night, forcing you to wake up from your sleep.

When it comes to RLS symptoms, the most often reported ones are odd, unpleasant sensations in the legs or feet. They are most often experienced on both sides of the body at the same time. A smaller number of people experience sensations in their arms.

It is possible to characterize the feelings, which usually occur inside the limb rather than on the skin, as follows:

·         Itching

·         Pulling

·         Throbbing

Individuals who suffer with RLS do not often characterize the symptoms as a muscular spasm or numbness. It is normal for symptoms to change in intensity over time. In other cases, symptoms may subside for a period of time before reappearing.

Diagnosis

After reviewing your medical history, your doctor will inquire about the symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor may perform a physical examination as well as a neurological evaluation. Blood tests, mainly for iron deficiency, are suggested based on your symptoms in order to rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms

The doctor may send you to a sleep expert if the situation warrants it. If you are suspected of having another sleep problem, such as sleep apnea, you may be required to spend the night in a sleep clinic so that physicians may examine your sleep. A sleep study, on the other hand, is generally not required for the diagnosis of RLS.

Treatment

When an underlying illness like iron deficiency is treated successfully, it may frequently result in a substantial reduction in the severity of RLS symptoms. It is feasible either to get iron supplements orally or intravenously in order to rectify an iron deficiency in the body. The use of iron supplements.

If you have RLS without a co-existing disease, therapy is mostly focused on modifying your lifestyle. If none of these options is successful, your doctor may prescribe medicines to you.

Prescription medicines for RLS treatment include:

·         Sleep medications

·         Muscle relaxants

·         Medications increasing dopamine

·         Opioids

When to see a doctor

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) may impair your sleep, induce daytime sleepiness, and impair your overall quality of life. If you suspect that you may be suffering with RLS, see your doctor.