Thursday, November 10, 2011

Facts about What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome RLS

Here are some basic facts about what causes restless legs syndrome. What is restless legs syndrome? Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic disorder characterized by throbbing, creeping and painful sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. The sensations are typically worse during periods of inactivity and usually strongest at night. The symptoms are improved with activity. For this reason, people with RLS generally have insomnia, which may be severe. There are no known cures for restless leg syndrome, but some individuals have experienced a temporary remission.

[caption id="attachment_1640" align="alignright" width="205" caption="What causes restless legs syndrome?"][/caption]

About 3% of adults in the United States are thought to have moderate to severe form of RLS, while an additional 5% have a milder case. The one million children who suffer from RLS have been misdiagnosed with having growing pains. In adults RLS has been misdiagnosed as stress or nervousness, but this syndrome isn’t a psychiatric condition. One cause of restless leg syndrome is that it is a side effect from taking allergy, anti-psychotic or anti-nausea medicine. Other causes of restless leg syndrome could be the result of an iron deficiency or just by being pregnant. New research has associated restless leg syndrome during pregnancy is related to increased estrogen levels. This link may better help researchers find better treatments for RLS in years to come. Many people with RLS have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) that is related to a motor disorder characterized by involuntary, repetitive, jerking movements that interrupt sleep.

People with restless legs syndrome symptoms find it difficult to fall asleep easy at night, causing insomnia. Symptoms are known to worsen as the day goes on especially if they are lying down or sitting for a period of time. Because of the irresistible urge to move their legs sufferers find temporary relief by getting up and moving about.

Some restless leg syndrome remedies include; reducing or eliminating caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, include moderate exercise program in your daily routine, leg messages and a warm bath. For extreme cases some drugs are available for temporary relief of RLS symptoms, but experts agree that long-term prescription drug use can aggravate symptoms, interact with other medications or health issues and cause a dependency in the long run.

What are the risk factors that increase your chance of getting RLS…RLS has been linked genetically and usually runs in families, some women experience restless leg syndrome in pregnancy (but symptoms usually disappear after they give birth), low levels of iron, Northern European descendant, diabetes, chronic kidney failure, chronic varicose veins, radiculopathy, anemia, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain medications, and drug withdrawal.

Symptoms may include: Feelings of tingling, creeping, pulling, prickling, "pins and needles," or pain in the legs at rest, a strong urge to move, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and hypersomnia. Symptoms can begin at any age but are more common for those that are older than 60. For those over the age of 60 an underlying condition is usually associated with their RLS such as heart disease, impotency in men and damage to the nervous system. Their doctor will ask them about their symptoms and medical history as well as perform a neurologic and physical exam. There is no specific test that will diagnosis RLS but many tests check for conditions that trigger RLS including blood work for low levels of iron, electromyography (EMG) to study leg muscles and a sleep study to monitor leg activity during sleep. There is no cure for restless leg syndrome the doctors treat the symptoms according to severity of the condition.

Treatment for mild cases of RLS may include: leg massage, heating pads or ice packs, hot bath, supplements of vitamins B, C, E, foliate or magnesium, keeping a sleep routine and avoiding medications that trigger RLS. Sometime treatment of the underlying condition will ease or reduce RLS symptoms; like an iron supplement for an iron deficiency, caused by anemia or not.

RLS treatment for severe cases include benzodiazepines, gabapentin and dopaminergic agents. READ more about benzodiazepines and gabapentin here: MYGABA Gabapentin or Benzodiazepine or GABA Supplement. Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation is sometimes used as a treatment of restless leg syndrome that is applied right before bedtime to reduce leg jerking.

[caption id="attachment_1641" align="alignright" width="186" caption="Restless leg syndrome symptom: Legs nerves on Pins and Needles"][/caption]

Natural remedies for restless legs syndrome include; reducing or eliminating foods, beverages and supplements that stimulate the body such as cola beverages, chocolate, wine, St. John’s wort, sexually stimulating herbs and especially over-the-counter cold medications.

Exercise or walk daily for at least an hour. Try valerian or a magnesium supplement to improve the quality of sleep. Massage therapy or acupuncture could benefit as well as weight loss.

Some people claim that vitamin B may reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of night time leg cramps, but more research is needed to determine whether B vitamins really work. B vitamin supplements are best taken in the early part of the day in a low dose. High doses of B vitamins could cause insomnia. Consult with your doctor before taking any vitamins, minerals or supplements as they may interfere with other medication or medical conditions. We at A Sleep easy don’t have all the answers about RLS, because healthcare professionals don’t have all the answers either. I just hope this article has been informative and maybe will at least offer some ideas or questions you can bring up with your physician in determining the best treatment for your RLS.

The content provided in Facts about What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome RLS is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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