Restless Legs Syndrome: Tips for aching legs at night

Restless Legs Syndrome:

Restless legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder that makes the patient uncontrollably move their legs. It is also known as the Willis- Ekbom disease. It causes an uncomfortable and odd sensation in the feet. As it is deep rooted to sleep that’s why it is also known as a sleep disorder. It does not only affect the legs as indicated by the name, it is can also affect the arms, torso, head and other parts of the body. To get a temporary relief one can move that body part, this allows the blockage of sensations associated with Restless Legs Syndrome. It is quite a misunderstood disease, some people experience some mild symptoms while others get disrupted to sleep which ultimately leads to a poor sleeping experience and impair an individual in their quality of life.

RLS is often not diagnosed properly and not many people have awareness of the condition among people who are practicing medicine. The conditions are not diagnosed until 10 to 20 years after the symptoms start to surface. At least one in five pregnant women are prone to develop this syndrome over the period of pregnancy. This condition can start to develop in the third trimester and can stay even after the childbirth. It is also identified as growing pains in children.

Many of the people who are suffering from Restless Sleep Syndrome experience different levels of pain. This condition can make a person suffer from discomfort during their waking hours especially when they are in a relaxed state. RLS is experienced most in the evening or at night time when the patient is trying to sleep. The symptoms are shown when the person is in bed. Just as they are about to sleep, they start to feel uneasy and uncomfortable. This can ultimately lead to sleepless nights and fatigue. The quality of life is decreased and one has no motivation to do their tasks.

Many people have experienced that the sensations that belong to Restless legs syndrome are often an itch or tickle which starts in the muscle of the patient. It is an itch which will not go away even if you scratch it. many patients describe this sensation as the “creepy crawly” feeling. All of these sensations begin to start when the person is relaxing.

1. Confined spaces can trigger the syndrome. Patients suffering from restless legs syndrome can suffer the symptoms while they are sitting in a cinema, on a plane or while they are relaxing.

2. Symptoms tend to get worse in the evening time. sometimes these sensations only take place in the evening. RLS makes it very hard for the patient to sleep in peace and relax. This lead to extreme tiredness and the person is not able to carry out their tasks for the day.

3. We can easily eradicate the symptoms by walking, massaging and stretching the legs of the affected area. Unfortunately, the symptoms reappear after some time when the person starts to relax.

4. The sensations are not confined only to legs. The pain can affect any body part.

1. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME:

1.1. PRIMARY:

Primary restless legs syndrome doesn’t have any known source, it usually happens slowly when the person is 40 to 45 years old and it tends to disappear for months or even hours. There is a high chance that the symptoms can get worse with age, but with the right treatment, progress is also shown by people.

1.2. SECONDARY:

Secondary restless legs syndrome occurs at the age of 40 and it can happen on a daily from the beginning.

2. CAUSES OF RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME:

Restless legs syndrome often takes place when there is an iron deficiency in the person. About 20% are suffering from restless sleep syndrome because of iron deficiency. Other conditions that can cause RLS is venous reflux, folate deficiency, peripheral neuropathy, thyroid diseases, sleep apnea, uremia, diabetes, magnesium deficiency. RLS can get worse when a woman is pregnant and can cause complications.

3. GENETICS:

There are thousands of people suffering from RLS and about 60% of the cases are familial and are inherited. Iron is well known to be an essential cofactor for the making of L-Dopa, which is also the predecessor of dopamine.

4. MECHANISM:

After many types of research, it is found that the disease mechanism of restless legs syndrome is based on the dopamine and iron system many hypotheses were conducted and it showed that when iron and levodopa, a drug of dopamine that can cause a barrier between blood and brain and it is then metabolized into dopamine. It can be used to cure the low dopamine conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

5. DIAGNOSIS FOR RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME:

There are no significant options to test Restless legs syndrome, but many laboratory tests consider this as a cause of vitamin deficiency. There are four symptoms that can assure the doctors that the person is suffering from restless legs syndrome.

1. unpleasant and uncomfortable sensations are felt by the person when they have an uncontrollable urge to move their limbs.

2. The symptoms get worse if the person is resting or sleeping.

3. the symptoms disappear temporarily when the patient is doing any activity.

4. the symptoms get worse in the evening and during the night time.

5. Restless legs syndrome is in no way connected to any medical or behavioral condition.

There are other symptoms a person can show when suffering from restless legs syndrome which includes:

Akathisia and nocturnal leg cramps.

Peripheral artery disease and arthritis can be the root cause of the leg pain but it gets worse when the person moves the affected body part.

5. PREVENTION:

Till date, there is no prevention method discovered to help people prevent it. they are not established nor studied. It is considered that if RLS is associated with any medical condition, RLS can also be cured by the treatment of the causes to remove or reduce restless legs syndrome. Many medical research centers are pondering over the methods and treatment that can focus on the condition.

6. PHYSICAL MEASURES:

If the patient stretches their legs it can bring a temporary relief. A patient can walk and move their legs while they have an uncontrollable urge to walk at all times, it can also offer them relief. Unfortunately, these symptoms return after some time. This is the main cause why the patients are grumpy and suffer from fatigue. There are devices that can help people with primary restless legs syndrome to help them improve their sleep. People can get help from non-drug treatments include leg massages, hot baths, heating baths or even ice packs that can be applied to the affected parts of the body.

7. PROGNOSIS:

Restless legs syndrome can gradually get worse with age. It can get worse slowly for the patients who are suffering from an idiopathic form of RLS in contrast with the patients who are also suffering from associated medical conditions. There are many therapies that are discovered over the course of time. they can control the disorder, minimizing symptoms and it can also increase periods of restful sleep. Many people have seen the symptoms disappear for a long period of time. restless legs syndrome is imperative for another neurological disease.

8. EPIDEMIOLOGY:

A great number of people are affected by restless legs syndrome. In America alone, about 2.5-15% population is affected by it. Women are more inclined to get affected than men. Restless legs syndrome occurs only in 3% of the population from the Mediterranean or Middle Eastern region. RLS depends upon different genetic and environmental factors, including the diet that prevails of this syndrome. RLS is very common in people who have iron-deficiency, pregnancy or an end stage of kidney disease. RLS is also deeply linked with the poor health. Neurological diseases that are also connected with RLS include Parkinson’s disease, spinal cerebral atrophy, and spinal stenosis.

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