Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is becoming increasingly prevalent within the United States today. Nearly one in ten adults in the United States has been diagnosed with RLS with even more children and adults being diagnosed every year. We hear the term RLS being thrown around in public almost daily yet many of us really do not even know what it means. So, what is it? What causes it? Is there a cure? STL Vein and Cosmetics is here to answer your questions.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a clinical diagnosis made by your physician in response to various symptomatic complaints that you, the patient, may be reporting. Also known as Willis-Ekborn disease, it is commonly known as the syndrome that causes the sufferer to complain of an annoying and overwhelming need to move the legs. Although most often reported in adults, RLS can affect both young and old alike.
In addition to having a need to move the legs, some people also experience a combination of tingling sensations, aching leg muscles, and/or a weird sensation most often described as something crawling on the skin. Most symptoms seem to worsen at night and as a result, can pose an obstacle to falling asleep and staying asleep. Early on in the progression of RLS, even before the night symptoms become apparent, many people can find themselves with similar symptoms during the daytime especially when they are sedentary for long periods of time. Have you ever noticed your legs spontaneously moving or twitching or aching when you have been sitting or standing for long periods of time? What would you do in these cases? For many, they find that just moving their legs will help to provide some temporary relief of these sensations, not realizing that these very same sensations many eventually lead to a full-blown case of RLS sometime down the road.
What causes it?
RLS is typically seen as a neurological syndrome (a syndrome originating from a problem with the nervous system) but in reality, it is really a diagnosis of exclusion. In the medical community, this means that no one really knows for certain. It gives physicians a name to put on your complaints after everything else has been ruled out. Some potential causes include:
- Iron deficiency anemia
- A movement disorder variant (i.e. parkinsons disease)
- Excessive caffeine intake
- Varicose vein disease
- Medication side effects
Since the cause of RLS is not known, most doctors are left with little to no guidance on how to best treat their patient’s RLS symptoms. For most physicians, the first step after making the diagnosis is to check for the obvious and treat what is off. Your physician will probably ask you a lot of questions and then take some blood for testing. They are looking to see if you have any medical conditions like iron deficiency and diabetes, or if you have any bad habits, like drinking too much coffee, that may help explain or contribute to your complaints. They will then treat what they find and then see if your RLS symptoms resolve. This is why people continue to suffer with RLS for years before finding any relief. Of course, that is if they find any relief at all.
Is RLS serious?
For the vast majority of people, RLS is not a serious condition. If anything, RLS is more of an annoyance for most people. That said, it is still your body’s way of telling you that there is something wrong. Keep in mind that benign issues do not usually have symptoms. That is why your physician should not take your complaints lightly. Your symptoms could be sign of a more serious health problem and therefore should not just be ignored. Over time, RLS can also cause you to lose out on sleep, which ultimately affects your body’s ability to regenerate. There can also be a large emotional impact seen with long term sleep deprivation as it is well documented in medical literature that sleep deprived people experience a greater incidence of depression and anxiety in addition to a higher risk of strokes and heart disease. As I mentioned above, RLS shouldn’t be ignored.
What are the treatment options?
As we mentioned before, the process of treating RLS really depends on its underlying etiology. If you have iron deficient anemia, you treat that. If you have diabetes, you control that. And so on. Your doctor, depending on their specialty, may even need to refer you to colleagues more experienced in the treatment of RLS. Regardless of what treatment is implemented, the important thing is that you are having your RLS issues addressed.
Varicose vein disease and RLS?
Over the years, there have been multiple medical studies looking at Varicose vein disease and RLS. The majority of these studies suggest that treating the vein disease issues in a person suffering from RLS helps to improve or decrease RLS symptoms. As a medical clinic specializing in the treatment of varicose vein disease, we know all too well that vein disease is far from the “cosmetic” issue that most people believe it to be. In reality, Vein disease is a venous circulatory defect that progresses over time. This is precisely why vein disease, like its arterial counterpart peripheral artery disease (PAD), also gives rise to symptoms.
Do you ever find that your legs get tired from walking or find that your legs swell at the end of the day? Do you realize that for some, these are early signs of a venous circulatory problem? STL Vein and Cosmetics can help you address your RLS and varicose vein issues. You don’t have to let you vein issues and RLS keep you from living the life you have always wanted to live.
Visit our website at www.STLVeinandCosmetics.com or call our offices today at 314.842.1441 to set up your free consultation. Talk to our dedicated team of vein experts and learn what we can do for you today. You don’t have to deal with your vein and RLS issues alone. Live your life to the fullest and call us today.