Restless leg syndrome
Description of Restless leg syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurogenic disorder in which a person gets irresistible desire or urge to move legs for ending unpleasant sensations. These unpleasant sensations can be described by patient as creeping, pulling, itching, pricking, etc. It is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease (WED) or nocturnal myoclonus and affects about 2% to 3% of adults and occurs more often at night.
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of RLS has not yet been identified but some of these are:
1. Genetic make-up
2. Some women develop RLS during pregnancy especially during last trimester, but symptoms often disappear after child birth.
3. Anemia and iron deficiency
4. Patients with kidney failure
6. Parkinson’s disease
7. Peripheral neuropathy
8. Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
9. Certain medications including antinausea drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, antihistaminics, etc.
Signs and Symptoms
1. Irresistible desire or urge to move legs for ending unpleasant sensations
2. Unpleasant sensations in legs include creeping, pulling, itching, pricking by pins, etc.
3. Sensations are better temporarily with movement of legs
4. Sensations worse at rest especially while lying down or sitting or when in stress
The aim of treatment is relieving the symptoms and improving sleep. The associated medical conditions are treated as per the physician’s advice.
1. Medications include dopaminergic drugs, anticonvulsant drugs, and benzodiazepines
2. Supplementary medicines containing iron, vitamin B12, or folate in case of respective deficiency
1. Try leg massages, it may help relieve rest leg syndrome
2. Hot baths or heating pads or ice packs
3. Good sleep habits
4. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
5. Exercise regularly
6. Eat healthy and balanced diets
7. Avoid foods that worsen RLS
8. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga
Frequently Asked Questions about Restless leg syndrome
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