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Restless leg syndrome (RLS), the urgent need to move the legs!

Fibromyalgia symptomsRestless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Overview

Restless leg syndrome (RSL), also known as Willis-Ekbom’s disease, is an illness that causes an unconscious desire to move the leg due to a feeling of discomfort. Symptoms usually appear late in the evening and often become worse at night. It can also happen when someone sits for long periods, such as driving, travelling or watching a movie. This is why physicians consider it a sleep disorder, however, it is preferable to describe it as a sensory neurological disorder mainly caused by Fibromyalgia (fi·bro·my·al·gi·a) is a condition that causes pain all over the body . Restless leg syndrome affects up to 10% of people in the USA and is most common in women.  It may begin at any age but worsens with age as symptoms become more serious.

Symptoms :

Usually, people with this disease experience:

1-Discomfort, especially in the lower extremities, starts after resting. This sensation ranges in intensity, from irritation to pain. Sometimes we may speak of muscle cramps or paresthesia.

2-These feelings lessen as the movement progresses. People with Restless Leg Syndrome often keep their legs moving to minimize or prevent the pain.

3-RLS may be associated with another more common condition called cyclic limb movement during sleep, which causes contractions and heartbeats.

4-People with restless leg syndrome experience unusual sensations in their legs such as itching, tension, pain, beating or tingling. These symptoms worsen at night, making it hard to sleep.

Causes :

1-In most cases, the cause of restless leg syndrome is Fibromyalgia.

However, it may result from:

2-Hereditary causes of symptoms that start to show up at the age of 40. Certain genetic variants may be associated with it as well.

3-Dysfunction in the basal ganglia, a zone of the brain that uses chemical dopamine to produce muscle movement. So dopamine deficiency leads to involuntary movement.

4-Having Parkinson’s disease, which is another dopamine-producing disorder also increases the chances of developing restless leg syndrome.

5-Certain medications may exacerbate symptoms of RLS, such as anti-nausea or psychotic medications and antidepressants.

6-Nerve injury, lack of sleep or sleep apnea can aggravate or stimulate symptoms in some people.

Treatment : 

R LS can be handled through:

1-Managing symptoms of restless legs syndrome by treating associated medical conditions, such as neuropathy, diabetes or iron deficiency anaemia.

2- Changing lifestyle that may provide some relief for people suffering from symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome. These steps include avoiding or limiting alcohol and tobacco use, changing sleep habits, doing exercises such as aerobics or massaging the legs or taking a warm bath.

3-Use of antiseizure medications, as they are prescribed to reduce the syndrome as well as Dopamine agents that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

4- Taking supplements,  several studies have shown that iron supplements can help relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome, especially if the patient has an iron deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can also be linked to restless leg syndrome a scientific study found that vitamin D supplementation reduces the symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS). For people undergoing dialysis, vitamin C and E supplements may help too.

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