Everything You Need To Know About Restless Legs Syndrome

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What is restless legs syndrome?

A person who suffers from restless legs syndrome experiences feelings of twitching, itching, burning, and tingling in the legs. The sensations usually occur when the person is resting, and are mostly worse at night when in bed.

The discomfort is only eased by constant rubbing and moving the legs, which has led RLS to be considered a sleep disorder, as the condition causes many folk to suffer from insomnia.

In spite of much research, no cure for RLS has been found, although there are some treatments recommended which may help relieve the condition.


What are the symptoms of restless legs syndrome?

  • The symptoms of RLS can vary from person to person, and so can the severity of the burning, itching, and other sensations.
  • The symptoms are generally worse in the evenings when you may be at rest, or very often when you get into bed.
  • The irritating and uncomfortable feelings can cause some serious sleep deprivation that will have a negative effect on your quality of life.
  • The lack of sleep can lead to daytime irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating in the workplace.
  • You may also experience unpleasant discomfort when sitting in a confined space like an airplane seat, at the movies, or as a passenger on a road trip.
  • If you already suffer from RLS and fall pregnant, note that the symptoms tend to worsen during pregnancy especially over the last 3 months.

Symptoms of RLS usually get worse as time goes by, but studies have shown that for some people a period of months may pass without any symptoms.


Causes of restless legs syndrome

To date doctors have no clear idea what causes the RLS, but as research have indicated that about 50% of sufferers have family members with the condition, they suspect that genetics may play a role.

There are also certain medical conditions which may be linked to RLS. These include:

  • Varicose veins
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Possible malfunction in the brain chemicals that help to regulate muscle movements.
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies which may impede healthy blood flow, are also contenders.
  • Certain kinds of medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure meds, and anti-nausea drugs.
  • While pregnancy itself is not a cause, RLS sometimes develops during pregnancy, possibly due to hormonal and weight changes. However, the symptoms usually disappear about a month after delivery.

Although the causes are not known, diagnosis of RLS is mostly based on the patient’s symptoms.

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