Restless Leg Syndrome - A Discussion

Restless Leg Syndrome - A Discussion

Have you suddenly noticed that you just can't get comfortable at night? Do you have an irresistible urge to move your feet or your legs every minute, or several times a minute?

Restless legs syndrome, also known as RLS, is a relatively common disorder among adults and seniors, and while not life threatening, is extremely unpleasant and annoying.

For some unknown reason, restless leg syndrome seems to affect more women than men. One of the most common symptoms is a jerking of the legs during sleep. This jerking may occur between every 10 seconds to once a minute, and the person experiencing them has no physical control or ability to stop it.

Understanding Signs and Symptoms

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of restless leg syndrome include:

  • A sense of tingling on the legs. It feels as if a spider is crawling up your leg. This sensation is especially common on the inside of the legs.
  • For many, the tingling sensation occurs between the ankle and the knee, and may feel as if it's originating from the bone itself.
  • You may notice some tingling in your hands and arms, although most commonly, this sensation is limited to the legs, and will affect both sides rather than just one.
  • You may notice that your symptoms may seem aggravated by your effort to sit down and raise your feet, or to lie down.
  • Symptoms often range between intermittent and constant. The sensation may be mild and hardly warrant your notice, while other times the symptoms may range from annoying to irritating to downright painful.
  • Symptoms of restless leg syndrome are generally felt less during the day than at night time, causing difficulty for seniors to relax, fall asleep or to get a good night's rest.
  • Sensations of tingling and jerking are common after sitting for long periods. Oddly enough, even relaxation type exercises such as Tai Chi or yoga may even exacerbate your symptoms.

Discuss suggested forms of exercise with your doctor.It's not known what causes restless legs syndrome, but risks seemed to increase in those with a family history of it. Some doctors believe that low levels of iron in the blood that results in anemia or anemic conditions may also contribute to restless legs syndrome. Individuals who have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, kidney failure, Parkinson's disease or diabetes may also display an increased risk of experiencing restless legs syndrome.

Medications may also affect the peripheral nervous system and contribute to episodes of restless legs syndrome. Monitor your current condition and keep a diary or journal that specifies when you first noticed symptoms, their severity and their duration.

What You Can Do

If you experience symptoms or indications that you may have restless leg syndrome, go get checked by your doctor. While there is no known cure, your doctor will offer suggestions and maybe supplements or medications as well as lifestyle changes that will help decrease the frequency and severity of your symptoms, allowing you to get a good night's sleep.

Left untreated, restless leg syndrome may seriously hamper your ability to get a good night's sleep, leading to daytime confusion and fatigue and even exhaustion. Symptoms to restless leg syndrome often increase as we age, and your doctor will want to monitor changes in your condition.

You can help alleviate your symptoms by making several lifestyle changes, including:

  • If you smoke, try to quit. Doctors have determined that in some individuals, tobacco aggravates or initiates symptoms
  • Set a regular bedtime and stick to it
  • Gentle massage or a hot bath or temporary use of a heating pad may help relieve symptoms

Your doctor may also prescribe medications or dietary supplements. Discuss these medications and supplements with your doctor including dosage and what to watch out for. Review your expectations regarding medication use. For more information regarding restless legs syndrome, visit the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation

NOTE:Always see your medical professional with this or any symptoms you may have. This discussion is for informational purposes only and in no way is to be considered or construed as a medical opinion or diagnosis of any kind and should not be considered as such. For more information on RLS please visit the web site above.

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