Healthy Living

Restless Legs Syndrome: Get the basics

The symptoms accompanying restless legs syndrome often disappear when the underlying cause is carefully addressed. Nevertheless, if the exact cause isn’t known, the signs or symptoms can sometimes worsen and severely disrupt the patient’s life. The condition doesn’t lead to death, but extreme cases can severely interfere with sleep and trigger anxiety, stress or depression.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome: Get the basics

Key Takeaways

• Regular exercising during daytime
• Embracing healthy sleep habits such as a set sleep cycle, avoiding alcohol or caffeinated drinks at night, and sleeping regular hours
• Avoiding smoking if you do smoke

Restless Legs Syndrome: Get the basics

Restless legs syndrome also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disorder is a very common condition affecting the nervous system causing an irresistible desire to move the legs.
The condition can also trigger an irritating crawling or slinking condition in the feet, thighs, and calves. The sensation is usually worse at night. At times, the arms could be affected as well.
Restless legs syndrome can sometimes develop due to involuntary jerking of the arms or legs, and this condition is known as periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS). Some individuals experience occasional symptoms while others encounter them on a more frequent basis. The symptoms range from mild to severe. In extreme cases, restless legs syndrome can really be devastating, especially due to the disruption it can cause in quality of life.

Causes

The exact cause of the restless legs syndrome is unknown. This is referred to as idiopathic restless legs syndrome, which often runs in families with a long history of the condition. Some neurologists believe that the symptoms might be a result of the body’s inability to handle sufficient dopamine. Dopamine plays an important role in controlling masculine movements and might also be responsible for involuntary leg movements linked to the restless legs syndrome.

Restless leg syndrome can also lead to pregnancy complications. About one in every five pregnant women may experience symptoms during the last three months of pregnancy, though it isn’t clear exactly why this happens. In these cases, the disorder often vanishes after the woman gives birth.

Treatments

Lifestyle changes to improve restless leg syndrome include:

Regular exercising during the daytime
• Embracing healthy sleep habits, avoiding alcohol or caffeinated drinks at night, and sleeping regular hours
• Avoid smoking

If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, you might need medication to control dopamine and iron levels in your body. If your condition is a result of iron deficiency, iron supplements might be prescribed to cure symptoms.

Who’s At Risk?

Medical experts believe that one in every ten suffer from restless leg syndrome. Women are more prone to the condition compared to men. It is also more prevalent in middle age, though the symptoms can occur at any age, even during childhood.

Lifestyle Changes to Relieve Restless Legs Syndrome

Numerous lifestyle changes can be embraced to sooth the symptoms associated with the restless legs syndrome. These include:

• Avoiding smoking cigarettes
• Regular exercise
• Avoid stimulants, especially during the night
• Adopt good sleeping habits. Be certain to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
• Avoid medications that possibly trigger or aggravate symptoms of restless legs syndrome. You can consult your doctor for a proper treatment plan
• Avoiding caffeinated drinks, especially during bedtime

Outlook

Accompanying symptoms of restless leg syndrome often disappear, if the underlying cause is carefully addressed. Nevertheless, if the exact cause isn’t known, the signs or symptoms can sometimes worsen and severely disrupt the patient’s life. The condition doesn’t lead to death, but extreme cases can severely interfere with sleep and trigger anxiety, stress or depression.