Wednesday, 14 September 2016

What is restless leg syndrome? Why do I keep my leg moving?

The Restless Leg Syndrome is a very common problem which is characterized by the uncomfortable feelings felt in leg which are paired by an irresistible urge to move your legs in order to relieve the sensation being felt in the leg. People with this syndrome can often be seen pacing and constantly moving their legs while standing or sitting. This restless sensation is a common occurrence at night and has been described by those who suffer it as being a feeling of itching, throbbing, and creepy crawly, pins and needles and pulling feeling in the leg. This is worse when the person is sitting down or lying down i.e. when they are relaxed. The restless leg syndrome affects both women and men of any given age; however it is seen to be more common amongst women and older people.

CAUSES of restless leg syndrome: In several of the cases, the restless leg syndrome has been caused by unknown causes. However, some believe it may be linked to genetics, as a huge portion of the people with the restless leg syndrome also has relatives who also experience the same sensations. The restless leg syndrome has also been associated with some medical conditions which also includes diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and also peripheral neuropathy (any disease or damage to the nerves which impair movement, sensation or gland function)

DIAGNOSIS of restless leg syndrome: There is no medical test for the restless leg syndrome. The descriptions which are given by the patients are providing vital information about how and when the symptoms occur; hence the triggers can also be identified and possibly avoided. Family health history helps in providing clues to the causes behind the syndrome. However the four criteria given below are used generally in order to diagnose this condition;

  1. Presence of a strong urge to move a certain limb or limbs
  2. The symptoms become worse at night are barely minimal in the mornings.
  3. Symptoms tend to be triggered when relaxing or sitting.
  4. The symptoms are relieved once the limb is moved, however return when movement stops.
TREATMENT of restless leg syndrome: The doctors handling patients with the restless leg syndrome are focused on ridding these symptoms or urges by identifying what triggers them, and why it is that the urge or symptoms are minimal during the day and far more noticeable during the night. Making some changes to your lifestyle can bring about moderate or mild changes in the symptoms. This can include reducing or stopping the intake of substances such as tobacco, caffeine or even alcohol.

If the symptoms are found to be related to a dietary cause, the symptoms can be treated by adjusting the diet by increasing or decreasing supplements or food items from our daily diet. Currently there is no definite cure for the restless leg syndrome, however there are various options in the form of therapy and also controlling the symptoms to increase total restful sleep time. The symptoms tend to generally increase with the age and the rate of occurrence is also greatly depending upon the associated disorder.

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