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Restless Leg Syndrome by Hanisa Mehmedovic

By at July 4, 2012 | 8:15 am | Print

Do you ever wake up at night and feel a unpleasant and unusual cramp in your leg? Or have trouble falling asleep due to a crawling or a tingling feeling in your things, calves, or feet? If so, don’t ignore it. This may be some sings or symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). RLS is a neurological movement disorder that targets the legs and feet during inactivity such as sitting or laying; which is why symptoms worsen at night as you’re trying to fall asleep or even during sleep. A lot of time RLS is described as a needles and pins going up and down the leg, which is why most people get relief by moving around; doing things such as stretching, pacing back and forth, and jiggling the leg.

RLS can happen to children and adults. And the young you get it, the worse the symptoms are, because as you age the symptoms get worse and they become harder to treat. While both sexes can get the condition women are twice as likely to get it. This may because of pregnancy. A women’s first pregnancy is known to cause RLS in her last trimester. But, soon after delivery the symptoms go away and don’t return. And of course certain things that we use and do can trigger the symptoms and make them worse. Drinking caffeine and alcohol have been known to make the symptoms worse, along with tobacco. Still, the causes are unknown, studies and research have shown that low Iron levels in the brain might cause or trigger RLS and that a chemical that sends messages to control muscle movement know as Dopamine might play a role in RLS as well.

In the past it has been mistreated because physicians mistaken it for stress. Which is why now physicians are using four different criteria’s for patients before diagnosing them. The doctors say the patient would have to feel a strong urge to move their legs and their symptoms would need to be worse while resting. Plus, their symptoms would need to be relieved by activity, and finally their symptoms would have to be worse at night, before sleep or during sleep. Since there is no cure and RLS is a lifelong condition all that can be done is trying to minimize or stabilize the symptoms by medication.

Some of the common medication includes a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease called Sinemet, another drug thats used is Neurotin; which is primarily used for Epilepsy. And the most popular medication is muscle relaxants and sleep medication. Sleep medication is important because sleep is lost and being sleep deprived can cause poor performance at work and school. It may also cause impaired memory, and a hard time concentrating. Worst of all 80% of RLS patients experience a more serious condition that causes regular leg twitching; this condition is known as Periodic Limb Movement of Sleep, or PIMS.

To prevent PIMS or another serious condition, if you’re experiencing the symptoms of RLS you should see a doctor immediately. The sooner you know, the faster the condition will be treated, and the healthier you’ll be.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/restless-legs-syndrome/DS00191

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm

http://www.webmd.com/brain/restless-legs-syndrome-directory

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