RLS: Understanding Restless Leg Syndrome

The Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is a serious condition that has for along time been misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. In the US, it is estimated that about 10 % of the population suffers from this neurological disorder that forces the person to move their legs in order to achieve temporary relief. The tingling or itchy feeling usually gets worse when the person is at rest. Sleep is most affected as it is the most result part of the day.

In general, the tingly sensation felt in RLS usually increases as the day gets old. It has been observed to run in the family and a gene that increases the chances of developing the diseases has been identified. RLS can be classified into two: Primary and Secondary.

RLS RLS: Types

Primary Restless Leg Syndrome is the most common type. It is also referred to as familiar as it is passed down the family tree. This type of RLS is also described as idiopathic as it has no known cause.

Unlike the primary type, secondary Restless Leg Syndrome is causes by associated with another disease and is not acquired by heredity. It can also be a side-effect of another drug. Other underlying conditions that can lead to secondary Restless Leg Syndrome include:

  • Kidney failure.
  • Iron deficiency anemia.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Peripheral neuropathy.
  • Environmental factors such as diet.
  • Stress and other psychological conditions.

Both types of Restless Leg Syndrome do not discriminate against age, gender or race. While the symptoms of RLS occur at a young age, they tend to get worse with age. The symptoms are even more severe in adulthood if they started in childhood. RLS symptoms mostly affect legs. However, they can also affect the following parts of the body with same tingly feeling:

  • Arm
  • Face – the person seems to slap themselves in order to relieve the itchiness.
  • Torso.
  • Genitalia.

What are the symptoms of RLS?

  • A feeling that its patients describe as tingly, creepy, itchy, pulling or painful.
  • The above feelings are characteristically relieved or cooled of when the feet are moved or some form of pressure is applied.
  • Insomnia.
  • Daytime sleepiness as quality sleep is not achieved at night.
  • Lateness to work or school.

RSL and Pregnancy

Pregnant women are at a higher that normal risk of getting RLS. It is more common in the last trimester of pregnancy. In most cases, the symptoms will go away after birth. For other women, the signs of RLS will continue even after birth. Women who get Rest Leg Syndrome during pregnancy are more like to develop it later in life.

At this point, there is still no known cause or cure for RLS. However, the symptoms can be managed using drugs and lifestyle changes. You should therefore see your health care provider for more advice. Here are some helpful tips on how to manage RLS:

  • Sleep when the symptoms are least severe.
  • Take up yoga classes or have your legs massaged especially in the evening.
  • Talk to your friends and family about the symptoms.
  • Take a warm bath before sleeping as it helps to relax the body.
  • Iron supplements are helpful if the RLS is as a result of iron deficiency.

Though the condition is not curable, the symptoms are manageable.

Understanding Restless Leg Syndrome Video Education

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