What is Restless Legs Syndrome? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Restless legs syndrome is a frequent problem that can have people. But if you have this condition, you should know that it does not lead to limitation of movement functions. Also, it does not contribute to the paralysis of a person. This problem hasn’t a specific reason but doctors consider some things that can provoke it.
Although restless legs syndrome does not lead to severe and irreparable consequences for the patient, its manifestations can bring discomfort. Sometimes, it can even cause conditions such as insomnia and depression.
What is restless legs syndrome? This disease with the legs typically occurs in the late time of day. This fact can answer such a question as “Why do people with this problem with their legs don’t want to sleep at night and then have daytime sleepiness?”.
What is Restless Legs Syndrome?
The disease is shown by an uncontrollable urge to shake the legs that causes pain or uncomfortable feelings. It manifests in the evening and at night when a person sits or lies. When the patient has shaky legs, his discomfort disappears or is relieved.
Restless legs syndrome has another name as Willis-Ekbom disease. It can begin at any age and tends to worsen with age. This disease can disrupt daytime activities and impair the quality of nighttime sleep.
We suggest you move to the next block of our article and figure out essential information about this condition.
What are Typical Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome?
One of the main symptoms of this problem is a strong desire to shake the legs. People with this problem say that they want to shake their legs even when they are calm. As a rule, these uncomfortable feelings that make the patient shake legs are noted on both sides.
Sometimes patients say that they feel the next things:
- Heaviness in the legs;
- The occurrence of unpleasant electrical impulses.
Patients do not report the condition preceding the desire to jerk their legs as muscle spasms or numbness. At the same time, a persistent desire to move the legs still appears. Sometimes this condition goes away on its own.
You can also highlight these important signs:
- Unpleasant sensations that begin during rest
Similar sensations can be observed by patients if they were sitting or lying for a long time in or places such as a movie theater;
- Relief with movement
Patients with this condition show improvement during movement;
- Shaky legs while sleeping
Some patients may also experience twitching of the extremities during nocturnal sleep. This problem that connects with a desire to shake the legs can be associated with periodic limb movement during sleep. This can cause the legs to twitch while sleeping.
So, we have considered why this condition can appear, and now we want to talk with you about restless leg syndrome’s causes.
What Сan Cause Restless Legs Syndrome?
There is no one exact reason why people can have restless leg syndrome’s cause. Some researchers say that it may be due to an imbalance of dopamine chemicals in people’s brains. This may be because it is dopamine that sends impulses to the brain to control leg movement functions.
However, doctors notice several theories that, in some cases, can be identified as the causes of this disease in patients. They include the next point:
Sometimes restless legs syndrome can be inherited. Most often, this happens if the disease began before the age of 40. At the moment, scientists can determine the regions of the chromosomes where the presence of restless legs syndrome can be noted.
Pregnancy, like hormonal changes, can temporarily worsen a person’s condition, causing restless legs syndrome. Some women do get the disease around the third trimester of pregnancy. In this case, the symptoms of this syndrome disappear after childbirth.
Occasionally, restless leg syndrome can occur in patients with nerve damage in the arms and legs. This, in turn, can occur against the background of diabetes or alcoholism.
- Iron deficiency
This problem is also theoretically capable of causing restless legs syndrome or exacerbating it. You should check the status of iron in your body if you have experienced bleeding from the stomach or intestines, as well as heavy periods.
Some people who have this problem may be taking medications that make their legs shake.
What is the Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome?
If a person has faced such a problem with his legs, he can receive some recommendations to help him to get rid of it. The method of getting rid of the syndrome of restless legs depends on the severity of the condition and the intensity of the symptoms themselves. Usually, the doctor prescribes some kind of treatment if the patient has insomnia or daytime sleepiness, which worsens his quality of life.
Let’s take a closer look at several treatment options for restless legs syndrome.
1. Non-pharmacological agents
Usually, the doctor recommends non-drug remedies to the patient to alleviate his condition. So, it could be:
- Regular exercise, including cycling and walking. However, patients are not recommended to resort to exercise a few hours before a night’s sleep.
- Quality sleep and preparation for it. This includes avoiding gadgets and watching TV a few hours before bedtime, as well as eliminating these things while lying in bed. It is also necessary to adhere to 7-9 hours of sleep and follow some other habits that form a quality night’s sleep.
- Reduce consumption of foods that contain caffeine. This includes avoiding coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, and certain drugs, as well as cigarettes.
- Cold compresses, which the patient may apply to their nervous legs and rub in the legs. Additional options for influencing the legs can be massage, acupressure, walking, and other relaxation methods for the legs.
- Taking a warm bath.
- Taking magnesium supplements.
- Getting rid of the stress in a person’s life. To do it, people can use methods such as yoga, light music, communication with nature, etc.
2. Medical methods
In some cases, a doctor may prescribe medication for the patient to get rid of this problem with the patient’s legs. Let’s consider what medication a doctor can advise you to solve this problem.
- Iron supplement
As we have already said, a lack of iron in the patient’s body can provoke the appearance of restless legs syndrome. Accordingly, the doctor may prescribe drugs to balance the amount of iron in the human body.
- Prescription drugs
If a person is severely tormented by nervous legs, particular prescription drugs may be indicated to him. So, it can be options such as:
- Dopamine agonists;
Keep in mind that you cannot independently prescribe drugs to yourself or your loved ones. You need to consult a doctor to determine the cause of this condition. After solving the problem that causes this condition, there is every chance for an improvement in the situation and even for the complete disappearance of the problem.
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- What triggers restless leg syndrome?
Scientists have not found a specific cause of restless leg syndrome in patients, but there are several possible causes for the condition. For example, the causes may be stress, pregnancy, lack of iron in the body, and the consequences of taking certain drugs. Another reason may be damage to nerve cells, as a result of which the amount of dopamine in the human brain decreases, which causes muscle spasms and involuntary movements. This can be especially noticeable in the evening, when the amount of dopamine in the human body decreases, which leads to an increase in symptoms.
- What are you lacking when you have restless leg syndrome?
One of the causes of restless legs syndrome is the lack of iron in the human body. This can lead to a decrease in the level of dopamine in the human body; as a result, the patient may experience restless leg syndrome.
- How do you get rid of restless leg syndrome permanently?
If you want to get rid of restless legs syndrome, follow the following tips:
- To take tests to check the level of iron in the body.
- If you’re stressed out a lot, get rid of the stress in your life and try ways to relax.
- Reconsider the drugs you can take for chronic diseases. Perhaps, you will find restless leg syndrome among their side effects.
As for pregnant women, the syndrome resolves on its own after childbirth.
- What does a restless leg indicate?
Restless legs syndrome is not an independent disease. It is a symptom indicating a certain condition in the body. This syndrome can signal a lack of iron in the human body and, as a result, iron deficiency anemia, as well as kidney failure. Also, restless legs syndrome can signal stress and tension in a person’s life and be an accompanying moment of pregnancy.