Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually due to a feeling of discomfort. This usually happens in the evening or at night when you are sitting or lying down. The movement temporarily relieves the uncomfortable feeling.
Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis Ekbom’s disease, can appear at any age and usually gets worse with age. It can disrupt sleep, which interferes with daily activities.
Simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms. Medication also helps many people with RLS.
The main symptom is the urge to move the legs. General characteristics of RLS support include:
- Sensations that begin after rest. The sensation usually begins after you have been lying down or sitting for a long time, eg. B. in a car, plane or movie theater.
- Relief through exercise. The sensation of RLS decreases with movement, eg. B. Stretch, shake your legs, pace or walk.
- Worsening of symptoms in the evening. Symptoms mainly appear at night.
- Nocturnal twitching of the legs. RLS may be linked to another more common condition called periodic sleep movement of the limbs, which potentially causes your legs to twitch and kick all night while you sleep.
- Often there is no known cause of RLS. Researchers suggest the disease may be caused by an imbalance in the brain’s chemical dopamine, which sends messages to control muscle movement.
Sometimes RLS works in families, especially if the illness begins before the age of 40. Researchers have identified locations on chromosomes where RLS genes may be present.
Pregnancy or hormonal changes can temporarily worsen the signs and symptoms of RLS. Some women have RLS for the first time during pregnancy, especially during their last trimester. However, the symptoms usually go away after birth.
RLS can develop at any age, including childhood. The disorder is more common with age and more common in women than in men.RLS is usually not associated with a serious underlying medical problem. However, sometimes it is accompanied by other conditions, such as:
Peripheral neuropathy. This damage to the nerves in the hands and feet is sometimes due to chronic diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism.
Iron deficiency. Even without anemia, iron deficiency can cause or worsen RLS. If you have had stomach or intestinal bleeding in the past, have a heavy period, or have repeatedly donated blood, you may be low on iron.
Renal failure. If you have kidney failure, you may also have iron deficiency, which is often associated with anemia. When the kidneys are not working properly, the iron stores in your blood can decrease. These and other changes in body chemistry can cause or worsen RLS.
Spinal cord conditions. Spinal cord injuries caused by damage or injury have been linked to RLS. Spinal cord anesthesia such as a spinal block also increases the risk of developing RLS.