Do you know about Restless leg syndrome (RLS)?

Do you know about Restless leg syndrome (RLS)?

Restless leg syndrome is a condition characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the lower limbs. The patient feels an itching, crawling or tingling sensation, like multiple small electric shocks, in the legs.

As an attempt to relieve the feeling, the sufferers urge to move their legs, usually at night.

RLS isn’t a particularly troubling or serious condition. However, it can be very distressing, affecting one’s daily life. As the sensations usually arise at night, RLS can notably affect sleep and cause a great deal of discomfort.

RLS isn’t that common but it isn’t as rare as one might believe. Around 0.8% of the general population has an extreme form of the condition. In addition, 2-3% has the milder form which is still clinically significant. Then there’s an episodic form that comes and goes that may occur in 5-10%.

What are the symptoms and causes of the condition?

The symptoms of the restless leg syndrome show a diurnal rhythm. In such a case, the symptoms occur mainly during the evening or at night. This might cause the patients to suffer from a chronic lack of sleep.

As a consequence, this can possibly affect the personal and professional life of the patients.

The symptoms include an uncomfortable desire to move your legs, cramping and tingling sensations in the legs, etc.

These sensations usually arise when you’re resting or sitting. RLS can hit you hard at any age. Moreover, the symptoms go worse with increasing age. It is common for the symptoms to fluctuate with the intensity of the condition.

Some of the possible causes for the symptoms include,

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Peripheral neuropathy (vitamin B12 deficiency or diabetes)
  4. Peripheral arterial disease
  5. ADHD in kids

Note that RLS is often confused with ADHD. However, both are different situations.

Other risk factors that may intensify the situations include,

  • High BMI
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diabetes mellitus

Some lifestyle changes or medication regime can work to relieve these symptoms and alleviate their possible causes.

Is RLS treatable?

Experts explain that RLS is still not widely recognized and/or taken seriously. There are no drugs specially designed for RLS. People might use some medications to relieve the pain. A general practitioner might help with the diagnosis and management of the situation.

There is no specific treatment designed for RLS but the researchers are working on it. In order to alleviate the maximum symptoms of RLS, go for the following guidelines,

  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and tobacco
  • Take regular exercise
  • Improve your sleep regime

These might not cure the condition completely but can help you manage the situation somehow wisely.

The researchers are looking at ways to treat RLS with iron. They are working with oral iron and IV iron. This is because RLS is often associated with deficiency of iron.

The researchers are also working on new treatments, new ways with IV iron and better iron treatments for people who don’t respond to iron. RLS affects your lifestyle by causing a sense of discomfort. It demands to be treated because it can affect the lifestyle badly. People are now getting aware of the situation with time. Plus the researchers are also working for potential ways to treat the situation.

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The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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