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What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable impulses to move one’s legs. Those who suffer from this condition usually experience these urges at night, typically when the are sitting or lying down. The urges are extremely bothersome and often interrupt sleep. That leads to a vicious cycle of daytime drowsiness. Restless leg syndrome is also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disease.

What Symptoms Does Restless Leg Syndrome Cause?

People who suffer from restless leg syndrome experience an aching, throbbing sensation, along with, itchiness and a feeling of creeping and crawling. These typically start when the person is resting, and worsen throughout the night. Moving their legs can provide relief, so frequently suffers wind up twitching their legs even as they sleep.

What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

In the majority of cases, the specific cause is not known. Researchers speculate that an imbalance of a chemical in the brain called dopamine, that impacts muscle movement, may be responsible, at least in part. There may also be a genetic component. Another theory is that restless leg syndrome develops in women as a result of hormonal changes that occur during menopause or pregnancy.

What Complications Can Restless Leg Syndrome Cause?

While restless leg syndrome may not be serious in and of itself. The sleep disruptions it causes can create significant problems. Suffers often can not stay asleep for any length of time. This causes daytime fatigue, which in addition to being impractical, can cause headaches, a weakened immune system and, eventually, the insomnia can lead to depression.

“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together."
~ Thomas Dekker

How Is Restless Leg Syndrome Treated?

Restless leg syndrome is generally treated with the practice of healthy sleep hygiene (which includes following a set bedtime and routine), lifestyle changes, medication or a combination of these. Exercise, avoiding caffeine, and taking baths are a few techniques that can help. Among the medications used to treat symptoms are muscle relaxants, sleep medications, medications that increase dopamine levels, and muscle relaxants.

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