Do you usually have the urge to move your legs every time you are asleep? Does is affect the quality of your sleep? Research has shown that most people above 18 years and above have trouble with sleeping because of the restless leg syndrome. Severely affected groups are middle-aged individuals.
- It affects both sexes but it is more common in women than men and can begin at any age, even in young children.
Causes of restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is suspected to be hereditary as genes play a big role. Other factors that are associated with the disease include:
There are diseases that are associated with this condition including; iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. These diseases usually include symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Treating these diseases helps in giving a lot of relief in restless leg syndrome.
Medications including anti-nausea drugs, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines containing sedating agents usually worsen the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. One needs to talk to their medical provider in case the conditions worsen.
During pregnancy, women may experience symptoms of restless leg syndrome. The condition gets worse during the third trimester but the symptoms go away after delivery within a one month period.
Alcohol and substance abuse trigger the symptoms of restless leg syndrome or even make them worse. Sleep deprivation too. Improving on sleep and eliminating substance abuse may relieve the symptoms.
Symptoms of restless leg syndrome
Here are the common signs and symptoms of restless leg syndrome:
- Uncomfortable sensations in their legs and arms
- Irresistible urge to move their legs
- Uncomfortable itchy, pins and needles
- Creepy crawly feeling in the legs
The severity of restless leg syndrome ranges from mild to intolerable as symptoms come and go. Symptoms are generally worse at night. This affects the sleep quality and this eventually affects the quality of life.
Treatment for restless legs syndrome
There is no known medication to relieve restless leg syndrome. The aim is to relive the symptoms. In people with mild to moderate restless leg syndrome, practicing regular sleeping patterns, eliminating use of alcohol and substance abuse like caffeine and tobacco can help relieve the symptoms.
Other remedies include:
- Leg massages
- Hot baths or heating pads or ice packs applied to the legs
- Good sleep habits
- A vibrating pad called Relaxis
Drugs work differently; one drug that helps relieve symptoms in one person may exaggerate or worsen the symptoms in another person.Drugs that can be used include:
This type of drugs work on the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain
These drugs can be used to induce sleep though they can cause daytime drowsiness.Narcotic pain relievers can also be used to relive pain.
Is restless legs syndrome curable?
The cure for this disease is not yet found as at now but the current treatments can be helpful as they help in decreasing symptoms and improve sleep.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
- What is Restless leg syndrome (July 2015)
- Causes of restless leg syndrome (June 2015)
- Treatment of restless leg syndrome (January 2016)