Restless Leg Syndrome: Here Are The Facts
Neurological issues can cause a wide range of sleep disorders, one of which is known as restless leg syndrome, or RLS. This disorder is very frustrating for its victims, as it can greatly interfere with getting a good night's sleep and can sometimes make it difficult to live a normal life. The following article takes a closer look at this important neurological problem.
Restless leg syndrome is a condition that makes it virtually impossible for a victim to keep their legs still at certain times. The syndrome often strikes in the evening or when a person is lying down, which can make it extremely hard for a person to get to sleep or to remain asleep during the night. In addition to the irresistible urge to move their legs, RLS sufferers may also feel pain or tingling in their legs when they are having an attack. Symptoms can also occur after sitting for a long time, such as when a person is relaxing in a chair or taking a trip on an airplane.
RLS has a variety of causes. People can inherit RLS from their parents, which accounts for about half of RLS cases. Other medical conditions connected to the development of restless leg syndrome include Parkinson's disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and iron deficiency, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Certain drugs, such as antidepressants and anti-nausea medications, may also be responsible for the onset of RLS.
Modern medicine has several medications that help those with RLS. The most widely used are a class of drugs called dopamine agonists. These medications mimic the effect of dopamine, a chemical in the brain involved in the regulation of voluntary movements. When used as prescribed, they complement the natural dopamine in the patient's body and often reduce the symptom of RLS. Two of the most prominent dopamine agonists come in pill form, while one comes as a skin patch.
In addition to taking prescriptions, patients have a range of natural treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms of their RLS. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation are typically helpful. Other good ideas, according to Reader's Digest, are wearing an adjustable foot wrap, avoiding caffeine and sleep-inducing cold medications, massaging your legs before going to sleep and applying heat or ice packs to your legs. Regular exercise may also be helpful, but it's best to exercise earlier in the day and to avoid exercise that is too intense.
Contact a doctor, like Mohsen M. Hamza, M.D., with any further questions.