Restless Leg Syndrome
Do you feel an uncontrollable urge to move your legs constantly? Do you feel itching, tingling, or throbbing sensation in your legs? And do you often experience leg cramps?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you probably suffer from restless leg syndrome. This medical condition may seem harmless, but it can be indicative of underlying diseases such as anemia, diabetes, kidney failure, chronic venous insufficiency, and various others. If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, it’s crucial to get tested and seek treatment immediately because the symptoms will progressively worsen with time. Schedule an appointment with your nearest vein treatment clinic for a general evaluation. If you have any other questions, please continue reading to learn all about restless leg syndrome causes and restless leg syndrome treatment.
What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a medical condition wherein you have an uncontrollable need to move your legs constantly. Even though the restlessness originates in your legs, it may also extend to your chest and arms. You can minimize these symptoms by massaging your legs or moving around. However, if this restlessness persists, it’s probably caused by an underlying disease. Restless leg syndrome can be symptomatic of a wide range of diseases, which is why it’s crucial to seek evaluation and diagnosis immediately.
Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms
The following are some of the prime restless leg syndrome symptoms to watch out for:
- Unshakeable desire to move your legs.
- Your legs are always tingling, itching, throbbing, or burning.
- You experience painful cramps in your calves.
These sensations are usually worse at the end of the day.
Restless Leg Syndrome Causes
Restless leg syndrome occurs as a result of an issue in the basal ganglia, a part of the brain that uses dopamine to control muscular activity. Dopamine deficiency in this region can lead to uncontrollable movements, i.e., restless leg syndrome. That also explains why the symptoms of restless leg syndrome are worse at the end of the day — because this is when dopamine levels are at their lowest. But what are the factors or diseases that lead to such a dopamine deficiency?
Primary Restless Leg Syndrome
Primary restless leg syndrome refers to those cases in which there’s no specific inciting cause or disease. In these cases, restless leg syndrome may simply be genetic.
Secondary Restless Leg Syndrome
Secondary restless leg syndrome refers to those cases in which the condition is caused by an underlying disease or inciting condition. The following are a few examples that lead to restless leg syndrome.
Restless leg syndrome often occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy. However, the symptoms automatically disappear after birth. In this case, restless leg syndrome is perfectly normal.
Iron deficiencies can also lower dopamine levels, resulting in restless leg syndrome.
Various chronic conditions lead to restless leg syndrome. Some of these conditions include fibromyalgia, chronic kidney failure, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, and hypothyroidism.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency is a disease in which the valves in the veins — usually responsible for natural blood circulation to the heart — malfunction. In this case, blood flows back down and accumulates around the legs. This can also lead to restless leg syndrome. Venous insufficiency is one of the most common and dangerous causes of restless leg syndrome. If left untreated, it leads to serious complications like varicose veins, skin infections, leg ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis.
Restless Leg Syndrome Diagnosis
If you have restless leg syndrome, seek evaluation and diagnosis from a reputable physician immediately. He or she will run a series of tests to rule out and narrow down the exact cause of restless leg syndrome to come up with a suitable treatment plan. The following are some of the tests required to diagnose restless leg syndrome:
- Blood tests — for blood count, liver and kidney function, etc.
- Doppler ultrasound — for chronic venous insufficiency.
- Electrocardiogram — for a cardiovascular condition.
Once the root cause is determined, it can be addressed to cure restless leg syndrome.
Restless Leg Syndrome Home Remedies
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Restless Leg Syndrome
If you suffer from mild primary restless leg syndrome — i.e., if it’s not symptomatic of an underlying disease — you can cure it with one of the following lifestyle changes or restless leg syndrome home remedies.
- Stop consuming caffeine or alcohol.
- Don’t exercise before going to sleep.
- Quit smoking.
- Engage in cardiovascular exercises like running and swimming.
- Maintain healthy and regular sleeping habits.
Managing Restless Leg Syndrome
The following methods and tips help you control an onslaught of restless legs.
- Gently massage the affected legs.
- Apply a cold or hot compressor on the affected legs.
- Keep your legs warm or take a hot shower.
- Engage in relaxing exercises like yoga.
- Perform stretching exercises.
It’s important to note that these restless leg syndrome natural remedies can only manage mild symptoms temporarily. If your restless leg syndrome is caused by an underlying disease, it’s crucial to address the root cause.
Restless Leg Syndrome Meds
The following are some restless leg syndrome meds commonly prescribed by doctors after diagnosis.
- Dopamine Agonists like pramipexole or rotigotine.
- Painkillers like tramadol or codeine.
- Sleep medications like loprazolam or temazepam.
- Levodopa as a dopamine supplement.
Please note that we’ve only mentioned these restless leg syndrome meds for your information. You should only consume them after consulting a reputable and reliable doctor. While these medicines can relieve some of your symptoms temporarily, they cannot cure restless leg syndrome.
Permanent Restless Leg Syndrome Cure
If you have restless leg syndrome, it’s imperative to consult a reputable doctor for diagnosis and evaluation. In Our Vein Center Houston, we run a series of tests to determine the exact root cause of your restless leg syndrome and then curate a treatment plan that’s specifically suited for your needs. Please schedule an appointment at your nearest vein center for evaluation and diagnosis.