Restless Legs Syndrome, which is denoted as RLS, is a disorder that is part of the nervous system. It causes an urge to keep the legs moving. As it generally interferes with sleep, it is otherwise called as sleep disorder as well.
Generally, people with this condition will have uncomfortable sensation in their legs and even sometimes in arms. Even, they experience these symptoms in other parts of the body as well. The patients will have an irresistible urge for moving their legs to get relieved of the sensations. This condition will cause discomfort and the patients will get feelings like itchy sensation and they will feel as if pins and needles are inserted to their legs. Particularly, these feelings will worsen when the patient is taking rest, when sitting or lying. The symptoms generally range from mild to intolerable and they will come and go and the severity will also differ. Also, they get worse in the evening and at nights. The important symptom that can disturb their life is the inability to sleep at nights.
Who can get this condition?
It can affect both men and women, but it is known to be more common in women as against men. Also, it can begin in any age, even in children. However, most people getting affected are older and middle-aged people. In general, this condition is misdiagnosed or unrecognized as well, particularly when the symptoms are mild. But, once it is rightly diagnosed, it can be treated rightly.
Causes of RLS:
In most of the cases, the cause for this condition is not known. However, it is suspected that genes can play an important role. Nearly, half of the people with this condition also have a family member with this condition. Other factors that are connected with the worsening or development of this condition include:
• Chronic medical conditions like peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, kidney failure, iron deficiency and Parkinson’s disease. When these conditions are treated, RLS will be relieved.
• Some medications given for some conditions like allergy medicines, antidepressants, anti nausea drugs and antipsychotic drugs can worsen the symptoms associated with RLS
• Some women experience this condition during their pregnancy period, particularly in the final trimester and it will generally go away within a month of delivery.
Other factors like deprivation of sleep and alcohol use can also worsen RLS. However, in these cases, symptoms can be relieved by keeping away from alcohol and by improving sleep.
Even though, there is no specific medical test for identifying RLS, doctors use blood test for ruling out other conditions. The diagnosis will be generally on the basis of the answers given by the patient to the questions asked by the doctor and on the basis of the symptoms experienced by the patient.
Generally, the treatment for this condition will work towards easing the symptoms. For patients at the beginning stage of this condition, some lifestyle changes will be suggested like regular exercises, changes and sleep pattern, etc. But, if the condition is severe, appropriate medicines will be prescribed.