Restless legs syndrome, sometimes known as Willis-Ekborn Disease, is a condition that affects your nervous system - resulting in a restless sensation in your legs, making you want to move them. Most people who have Restless Legs Syndrome experience symptoms in the evenings, when sitting or lying down, or when trying to get to sleep. There are things that you can do to make the symptoms better for a short time, but it’s important that you don’t confuse relief with resolution, and still get clinically approved treatment.
Whilst symptoms can range from mild to severe, the key complaint is that restless legs syndrome disrupts healthy, natural sleep. If the condition is because of other underlying health problems, poor sleep can make pre-existing issues worse.
Who gets restless legs syndrome?
Although restless legs syndrome can affect anyone, it’s more common in women and people entering middle age. It’s more common, for example, in women over forty than in men and children. There are a few potential causes of RLS: neurologists understand that it’s related to levels of a chemical called Dopamine in the body, because it controls our muscle movement. Restless legs syndrome could be a result of an iron deficiency, anemia, kidney failure or other existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. It also affects one in five pregnant women, usually in their third trimester. Evidence also suggests that RLS is related to a dysfunction in one of the sections of the brain that controls movement (called the basal ganglia), which uses the brain chemical, dopamine.
How common is restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome is quite common, the amount of people that have it worldwide is estimated to be between 3.9%-15% .
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Restless legs syndrome
What causes restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome can be caused by a faulty gene, pre-existing medical conditions, various deficiencies, anemia, or by damage to the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is the part of the brain that helps control your nervous system and motor functions; it relies on dopamine transmitters to send signals to various parts of your body. When dopamine receptors are damaged in the basal ganglia, signals become confused, and incorrect messages are sent down the spine and throughout your nervous system. This causes strange sensations, involuntary movements or spasms, and an overwhelming restless feeling. The lifestyle factors which can contribute to the development or severity of restless legs syndrome symptoms are: stress, poor sleeping patterns, smoking, and drinking alcohol. However these factors aren’t thought to cause restless legs syndrome.
What are the symptoms of restless legs syndrome?
As the name suggests, restless legs syndrome causes a feeling of restlessness in your legs. An overwhelming urge to move your legs, a tingling sensation, and physical jumping in your thighs, calves and feet. These symptoms can range from a slightly irritating tingling sensation, to an uncontrollable compulsion to move your legs, which can keep you up all night and cause stress and fatigue. Restless legs syndrome isn’t just related to the legs, either. Sometimes the symptoms of restless legs syndrome can be found in your arms as well.
Can restless legs syndrome lead to other problems?
While there is no medical evidence to suggest that restless legs syndrome can cause more serious health concerns, it can and will have a detrimental effect on your overall lifestyle and health, because it can cause sleep deprivation. Without healthy, natural sleep, all health conditions can worsen. If you develop restless legs syndrome earlier in life, you’re more likely to experience worsening symptoms over time, so it’s important to find the best treatment for you.
Restless legs syndrome
What medications are there for restless legs syndrome?
The most effective means of treating restless legs syndrome is usually dopamine agonists. Dopamine agonists correct the insufficient levels of dopamine in your body, a deficiency often thought to cause the condition. Dopamine agonists will usually be prescribed as tablets.
Is there a ‘best’ treatment for restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome has multiple causes and factors, which is why we strongly recommend talking to us, so we can recommend the best treatment course for you - taking into account your symptoms, health status, and background. Every person is different, and we always take this into account. We’ll consider your symptoms, your health status, any pre-existing conditions (such as diabetes or kidney issues) and your medical background to help you choose the best treatment for you. It’ll usually involve addressing the problem in the body’s dopamine receptors - so the best treatment is usually dopamine agonists. Sometimes, though, RLS symptoms can be controlled by finding and treating an associated medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, or iron deficiency anemia.
Does restless legs syndrome always need treatment?
Restless legs syndrome is best managed through approved treatment, used with healthy lifestyle changes to improve or maintain your general health. Regular exercise, healthy diet choices and relaxing activities are all recommended. It’s important to keep your overall health in check in order to combat restless legs syndrome. High levels of stress can worsen the problem, so take care to de-stress in whatever way works for you, whether that means a light stroll, a yoga session, or practicing mindfulness.
Restless legs syndrome
FAQ: Restless legs syndrome
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How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed?
There’s no specific test to identify and diagnose restless legs syndrome. Our clinician will diagnose restless legs syndrome after recognising the symptoms. They might also ask you some questions to determine the problem, and to rule out any other potential causes of your symptoms.
Can you get side effects from restless legs syndrome treatment?
The most common side effects from restless legs syndrome treatments include: slight nausea, dizziness, sickness, and headaches. As with any new medication, it’s important to raise any concerns or queries with your clinician. You should always read the patient information leaflet included with your treatment for advice and guidance, and if you’re unsure about anything, speak to your clinician.
Does restless legs syndrome treatment always work?
Dopamine agonist treatment is highly effective against restless legs syndrome, as it addresses the deficiency in your nervous system and improves the communication between your brain, nerves and nerve endings - so that the confused signals stop, and that jumping sensation goes away. In a 2012 study, between 70%-90% of patients taking dopamine agonist therapy reported that their symptoms had improved after they’d carried out a full course of treatment. As with all medications, it’s important to use the correct dose prescribed to you by your clinician, and it’s crucial to finish your course of treatment, even if your symptoms get better.
Why should I buy restless legs syndrome treatment online with Treated?
Overcoming the discomfort and frustration that comes with restless legs syndrome can be easier than ever, thanks to our subscription service. Talk to us about your health, and we’ll help you to choose the best treatment for you. We’ll deliver your treatment promptly and discreetly. With your subscription, you’ll get expert advice from our clinicians, who’ll be in touch to make sure that your treatment is working as it should be.
Your health, wellbeing, and happiness is at the forefront of everything we do. That means empowering you to take control of your own health, and make the right choice for you. We know that life can get a bit hectic, so we’ll remind you to check that you’ve got enough medication to fulfil your needs.
Order online today with Treated, and take real action against the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
Allen, R., et al. Restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease diagnostic criteria: updated International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) consensus criteria--history, rationale, description, and significance, 2014. Sleep medicine, 15(8), 860–873.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.
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