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Restless Legs Syndrome


As the name implies, Restless Legs Syndrome, is a disorder where your legs are feeling overwhelming urge to move while you are lying down to sleep. This feeling of tingling sensation, ache, and itchy sensation in your legs can leave you awake all night. This particular feeling is called RLS. This disorder is treatable disorder by the help of lifestyle changes and home remedies.

RLS is a common disorder and it is estimated that about 10% of population has this illness. It is often confused by even doctors as mere nervousness. People just can’t understand how severely restless legs syndrome can impact the quality of sufferer’s rest and that of bed partner.

Symptoms of RLS

  1. Leg pain or sensation start to grow and become worse when you’re sitting, relaxing, or trying to rest.
  2. RLS symptoms flare up at night, when the person is lying down and relaxing.
  3. The symptoms are relieved if you move or walk. The symptoms are controlled till you are moving. After that the sensation starts again.
  4. People with RLS keep on move their limbs throughout the night. They do repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep as well.

How to treat RLS?

A combination of lifestyle changes and activities reduces the symptoms of moderate RLS. These changes include but not limited to reduced use of caffeine, alcohol, smoking, etc. You need to take supplements of iron, folate, and magnesium. Massaging legs and taking a warm/hot bath can help relieve symptoms.

Dopamine agonists – like pramipexole (Mirapex), rotigotine (Neupro), and ropinirole (Requip), etc. are used to treat RLS. These are the medicines which work by acting as neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. They do have some side effects.

Dopaminergic agents – like Sinemet works by enhancing dopamine levels in brain. It may work in some people, but for some, it increases RLS symptoms. So need to check them first for their individual effectiveness.

Opiates – like Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco) are used to treat RLS when all other drugs stop working. This class of medicines are very addictive.

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