Restless leg syndrome is a common condition of the nervous system that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, especially while sitting or lying down. The desire to move your legs mainly occurs in the evening or nighttime, disrupting your sleep, thus interfering with your daily activities. Mild Sebring restless leg syndrome cases may not require treatment other than a few lifestyle changes. However, if you have severe symptoms, you may need medication to regulate dopamine and iron levels in your body.
Symptoms of restless leg syndrome
The main symptom of RLS is an irresistible urge to move your legs; you may also have crawling or creeping sensations in your calves, feet, and thighs. These sensations usually begin after rest, such as in a car, airplane, or movie theater. Movements such as stretching, jiggling the legs, pacing, and walking can lessen the symptoms.
Symptoms can occur at any time but are common and severe at night. Most people with RLS also have periodic limb movement during sleep, which causes legs to twitch and kick, possibly throughout the night. Patients with RLS describe the symptoms as compelling and unpleasant sensations in the legs and feet; symptoms can occur on both sides but less commonly affect the arms.
Causes of restless leg syndrome
There is no apparent cause for restless leg syndrome, but specialists believe that the syndrome may be due to an imbalance of dopamine which is involved in controlling muscle movement.
Sometimes restless leg syndrome runs in families, especially if it starts before 40 years. Genes for RLS have been identified in chromosomes. Some women get restless leg syndrome for the first time during pregnancy due to hormonal imbalance. It may worsen during pregnancy if you already have this syndrome, especially in the third trimester. Symptoms of RLS usually disappear after childbirth.
Risk factors for restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome can affect anyone regardless of age, but the condition is more common with increasing age and more likely to affect women. Usually, this syndrome is not associated with a severe medical problem, but it can accompany conditions such as:
• Iron deficiency. Iron deficiency with or without anemia can cause restless leg syndrome. You may have an iron deficiency if you experience heavy menstrual bleeding, have a history of stomach ulcers, or repeatedly donate blood.
• Peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to your peripheral nerves, usually due to diabetes. When nerves in your feet are damaged, you may develop restless leg syndrome.
• Spinal cord conditions. Your risk of RLS is higher if you have had anesthesia to the spinal cord, such as a spinal block.
• Kidney failure. Iron stores in the blood can decrease if your kidneys don’t function properly. The change in body chemistry can cause or worsen RLS.
Some patients with restless leg syndrome do not seek medical attention due to the worry of not being taken seriously. However, this syndrome can affect your sleep, cause daytime drowsiness and affect your general productivity. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your healthcare provider if you have an irresistible urge to move your legs.
Consult your doctor today at Vein & Cardiovascular Center to learn more about restless leg syndrome.