About Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome or RLS is a disorder of the central nervous system that can cause difficulty in sleeping. It has symptoms such as irritating sensations on the legs, urge to move, discomfort at night, and visible movements of the feet and toes. When left untreated, RLS can result to insomnia, daytime sleepiness and restlessness.
This condition may occur without cause on certain individuals while they are younger, with the symptoms appearing more pronounced after they reach 50 years of age. The disorder is said to be familial in nature.
In order to diagnose the disease, physicians need to know about the patient’s medical history and if there are members in the family with the same symptoms or condition. Doctors will also need to determine other medical conditions the patient may have and check if he has low iron levels.Other conditions associated with RLS are Parkinson’s disease, alcoholism, sleep apnea and kidney problems.
In case RLS is diagnosed, here are some of the common restless leg syndrome treatment being given to the patient.
Altering the daily routine of the patient, may sometimes be enough to control the symptoms associated with RLS. Doing physical activities like walking, exercising and stretching may reduce the symptoms. Likewise, taking a hot bath, having a massage and quitting smoking can be done to prevent RLS from recurring. If the symptoms are associated with other medical conditions such as iron deficiency and diabetes, then these conditions are often addressed first. For instance, iron deficiency is treated with iron supplements to reduce the symptoms of RLS.
Children experiencing RLS are often not prescribed with drugs initially. Instead, doctors prescribe regular and moderate exercise. Regular sleep is also advised in these children. The prescription of drugs may then be prescribed if the initial treatment options prove ineffective. The said drugs can increase the levels of dopamine which are usually effective in reducing the symptoms and the involuntary movement of the legs at night.
Treatment for Mild Symptoms
For mild symptoms, regular exercise, weight loss for overweight individuals, and quitting smoking and coffee drinking are often recommended. Several medications may also be given for relief of these symptoms.
Restless leg syndrome treatments include use of dopaminergic agents are considered the first drugs of choice for RLS. The said drugs are usually prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease in order to increase the level of dopamine that regulates the movements of the muscles. Benzodiazpine sleep medications may also be given for suppression of muscular contractions. Non-benzodiazepine sedatives are also helpful for mild symptoms of RLS that happens primarily at night. Anticonvulsants are generally given for the prevention of seizures, but in the case of RLS, this drug is said to help in reducing muscle contractions.
Mayo Clinic: Restless Leg Syndrome
HelpGuide.org: Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)