Restless Leg Syndrome

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Vein Conditions
Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a sleep disorder that causes an individual to have a strong urge to move. Patients have reported feeling sensations that they describe as itching, pulling, creeping, crawling, throbbing, or tugging. Restless leg syndrome is known to run in families. It is also associated with a variety of medical conditions and diseases. 

The sensations that occur with RLS often happen while the person is lying down in bed or while they are sitting for an extended period. It has also been known to occur while a person is driving or sitting in a theater. Restless legs syndrome usually occurs at night or in the late evening. That makes it difficult for the affected person to fall asleep. To alleviate the sensations, people will often want to walk or shake their legs to relieve this discomfort. 

What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

Several factors can cause RLS to occur. These can include medical conditions and side effects of medications. Restless legs have also been found to be a genetic issue with some cases. That means that a parent who had RLS could pass the condition down to their child. 

In addition to being genetically related, restless legs can be associated with the following illnesses and conditions. 

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Peripheral Neuropathy

Medications and treatment for medical conditions have also been known to contribute to RLS. Patients who take dialysis medicine for kidney failure are known to have restless legs at times. Medications that include allergy drugs, antidepressants, and anti-nausea will often have RLS listed as one of their side effects. Other factors like nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine can also contribute.  

What are the Symptoms of RLS? 

Some of the symptoms of restless legs syndrome include the following. 

Discomfort in the Legs 

RLS can cause uncomfortable sensations in the limbs that are described as creeping, itching, or pulling. These sensations often occur at night, but they can occur at any time the legs are inactive. 

Ongoing Urge to Move the Limbs 

To help relieve discomfort, the person has an uncontrollable urge to move their legs. That is especially true while sitting or lying down. 

Sleep Disruption 

The person often needs more time to fall asleep due to the urge to move their legs to relieve discomfort. It can also be difficult for them to stay asleep at night. 

Daytime Sleepiness 

Issues with falling asleep and staying asleep will often result in daytime sleepiness and sometimes a disruption in mood. 

Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment Options 

Many restless leg syndrome treatment options involve self-care, however, there are some prescription medications designed to help with the symptoms of this disorder. Many times treating the underlying condition can help to relieve the symptoms associated with RLS. If you are taking a medication that is causing RLS symptoms, switching to a different type of medicine often helps. If you have RLS due to an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements could help take care of the problem. 

Some treatment options that you can try on your own include 

  • Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your leg muscles 
  • Applying warm or cool ice packs to your legs 
  • Establishing a good sleep schedule and sticking to it
  • Getting moderate, regular exercise each day
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Using a foot wrap that is designed for people with RLS. These wraps place pressure under the foot that can sometimes help relieve the symptoms. 

Living with Restless Leg Syndrome? Our Team Can Help 

If you are living with restless leg syndrome, our team may be able to help. Get in touch with the experts here at BASS Vein Center today if you live in Walnut Creek, Alamo, Concord, or the surrounding cities for more details.

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