Restless Leg Syndrome – RLS

Restless Les Syndrome, or RLS, is a type of sleep disorder that affects the legs, particularly at night when the affected person is trying to sleep. It is estimated that there are nearly 12 million Americans suffering from restless leg syndrome, and there may be many more cases that are undiagnosed. Although RLS is common in both genders, it tends to be seen more in women. RLS symptoms are more frequent and more severe in older people.

Many people with RLS tend to kick out often, trying to relieve the uncomfortable sensations in their legs. RLS is also sometimes referred to as Jimmy Legs or Wittmaack-Ekborn’s Syndrome.

Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms

RLS can make the sufferer experience pain in their legs or a sensation akin to insects crawling beneath the skin, and is often only relieved by moving the legs.

Relaxing can often make RLS symptoms worse, and it seems that the more tired a sufferer is, the more severe the symptoms will usually become. Being inactive can cause the muscles to want to move, and often the legs will move involuntarily. Although it is not as common, RLS can also affect the arms.

RLS Diagnosis

Currently, there is no test for a physician to diagnose restless leg syndrome. The physician must study the person’s medical and psychological history, as well as the symptoms they are reporting. When the physician has completed the analysis, he or she will decide whether or not the person actually has RLS or another sleep disorder.

Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition that has a number of known causes:

  • Often, RLS is a temporary condition that is brought on by such things as pregnancy, menopause or certain drugs such as antiseizure or antipsychotic drugs
  • Sometimes RLS is a condition that lasts for many years, especially if it is associated with other health conditions, such as diabetes and kidney failure
  • Other medical causes of restless leg syndrome include Parkinson’s disease and other nervous system diseases
  • There are lifestyle causes of RLS such as smoking and obesity that can be addressed
  • Other causes of RLS can include insomnia, nervousness, muscle cramps, arthritis and even aging.

Treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Before a physician can properly treat RLS, it first must be determined if there is an underlying health condition that is causing the restless legs, in which case treating that condition should cure the RLS
  • Eliminating caffeine before sleep and following better sleep tips is an excellent way to treat RLS, as well as quitting smoking and losing weight
  • Exercise during the day can also help to ease and even prevent symptoms

Restless Leg Syndrome Natural Treatments

There are also many all natural remedies for treating RLS, such as warm or cool baths and acupuncture.

Medication for Restless Leg Syndrome

There are medications for restless leg syndrome, including tramadol, diazepam, gabapentin, ropinirole and clonodine that may be prescribed by your doctor.

RLS is a condition that, although annoying and disruptive, can be treated if the underlying cause is successfully addressed. Once treated, you will find yourself sleeping better and feeling more alert and active during the day.

Essential further reading:

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