Restless legs syndrome

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome is a disease characterized by a feeling of wanting to move. Those affected have an unpleasant sensation in some parts of their body when they lie down to sleep.

Most people who have a strong desire to move, movement sometimes makes them feel better. But this movement makes it difficult or makes it impossible for a person to sleep well.

This syndrome usually affects the legs, but can cause discomfort in the arms, body, or even the feeling that one of your limbs has been amputated.

When you can’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll start having trouble doing your daily chores because you feel tired. You may be sleepy and have trouble concentrating. Therefore, it is important to consult with your treating physician and get help to be able to control your symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Your syndrome of feeling the need to move a certain part of your body. These sensations are usually described as tingling, “pins and needles,” pricking, pulling, or as if something is crawling on the skin.

Moving your leg or arm will make you feel relatively better, at least for a short time. This problem usually happens at night when you are trying to relax or sleep.

After you fall asleep, your legs or arms start to move. These movements are called periodic limb movements. They may wake you up, which will increase your feeling of fatigue.

Although periodic limb movement is considered a separate condition, it often occurs in people who have restless legs syndrome.

What are the causes?

In most cases, the cause of restless legs is not clear. The problem is often inherited. Sometimes the reason is that the body of the affected person suffers from a deficiency of iron or magnesium. If this is the case, getting enough of these minerals will solve your problem.

Sometimes this condition occurs in pregnant women.

Other diseases or conditions that may cause the condition are:

• Kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes;
• Nerve damage, anemia or Parkinson’s disease;

But most people who seek treatment don’t have these problems.

Restless legs syndrome treatment

If the symptoms are mild, some changes in your usual lifestyle are enough to control your symptoms. Some changes that would be helpful:

• Limit your use of tobacco, alcohol and caffeine;
• Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and comfortable and use it only for sleeping and sex, not watching TV;
• Exercise regularly;
• Massage the hands and feet or, if possible, apply warm and cold compresses;

When symptoms are more severe, medication will help you control your urge to move and help you sleep. But because of the variety of medications, you may need to try several to find what works best for you.

If symptoms do not respond to the doctor’s initial recommendations, medications that can be used to control the urge to move your limbs and sleep normally are:

• Dopamine antagonists such as ropinirole;
• Anticonvulsants such as gabalentine;
• Opioids such as oxycodone, whose access is strictly limited;
• Benzodiazelins;

The doctor may also prescribe drugs such as zolpidem, eszopiclone alone or together with dopamine antagonists, opioids or anticonvulsants.

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