Restless Leg Syndrome: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations such as tingling, itching, or a crawling sensation. The symptoms of Sebring restless legs syndrome can be debilitating, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, leading to daytime fatigue and a host of other problems. This article will explore the causes, diagnosis, and treatment options for RLS.

What causes restless legs syndrome?

The cause of RLS is entirely understood. But experts think the cause of RLS is related to a malfunction in the nervous system that controls movement. Several factors may contribute to the development of RLS, including genetics, iron deficiency, and certain medical conditions such as kidney failure or peripheral neuropathy.

One of the most common causes of RLS is iron deficiency. Iron is essential for producing dopamine, a chemical in the brain that plays a role in movement control. If you have low levels of iron in your body, it can lead to a decrease in dopamine production, resulting in RLS symptoms.

Certain medical conditions can also cause RLS. For example, people with kidney failure often develop RLS due to anemia, a condition that occurs when there is insufficient iron in the blood to produce enough red blood cells. Peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the nerves in the feet and legs, can also cause RLS symptoms.

Diagnosing restless legs syndrome

There is no single medical test that can rule out restless legs syndrome. However, your doctor may conduct blood tests and other examinations to rule out other disorders and observe your symptoms to diagnose RLS.

Your doctor may request blood tests to check for underlying diseases like diabetes or renal illness that might contribute to RLS.

Additionally, your physician may use neurological and physical examination, details from your family and medical history, a record of your current medicines, and other factors to establish a diagnosis.

In some circumstances, sleep investigations like polysomnography—a test that records a person’s pulse, breathing, and leg movements throughout the night—are performed to find out whether there are any additional sources of sleep disturbance (such as sleep apnea), which may influence how RLS is managed.

Diagnosing RLS in kids can be particularly challenging since it can be difficult for kids to articulate their symptoms, when and how frequently they happen, and how long they persist. Pediatric RLS can sometimes be misdiagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Treatment options for RLS

Treatment for RLS can vary depending on the underlying cause of the disorder. If your RLS is caused by iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend iron supplements to boost your iron levels. If a medication is the cause of your RLS, your doctor may change or adjust the dosage.

Sometimes, your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes to help manage your RLS symptoms. These may include regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and warm baths before bedtime. If your RLS symptoms are severe or do not respond to lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce the symptoms. Some of the most common medications used to treat RLS include dopaminergic drugs, which help to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain, and anticonvulsant drugs, which help to reduce the symptoms of RLS.

Call Vein & Cardiovascular Center to find the right treatment for restless legs syndrome.