Restless Leg Syndrome Causes
RLS and other medical conditions
In many patients, RLS is caused, at least in part, by another underlying medical condition. This is known as secondary RLS. Conversely, when looking at restless leg syndrome causes, many patients with these conditions never develop RLS, so this link is not absolute.
Conditions which may contribute to secondary RLS include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Iron deficiency (anemia)
- Vein disease, such as varicose veins and venous reflux
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Some benign tumors
- Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland)
- Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland)
- Smoking or other tobacco use
- Late-stage kidney disease, due to a buildup of toxic chemicals in the blood
- Lyme disease and other autoimmune diseases
- Certain vitamin deficiencies, particularly B-12 and magnesium
- Amyloidosis, the deposition of starchy plaques in organ and muscle tissue
- Central nervous system damage, particularly damaged spinal nerves
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Sjögren Syndrome, a genetic condition which causes symptoms ranging from widespread joint pain to dry eyes.
Does having restless legs syndrome put me at risk for more serious medical conditions?
Restless Leg Syndrome Causes : The majority of people suffering from restless legs syndrome have what is called the “idiopathic” form. This means that there is no known underlying cause. For these individuals, there is zero risk of their RLS progressing into a serious condition such as Parkinson’s disease.
RLS may get worse in patients with other underlying medical conditions if those conditions are not properly treated.
Is it possible to get a good night’s sleep with restless legs syndrome?
Many health experts concur that a simple change in your daily behavior will more often than not help you sleep through the night even if you have restless legs syndrome. The following steps can greatly reduce or even eliminate Restless Leg Syndrome Causes and symptoms in those with mild or moderate RLS.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption.
- Reduce your caffeine intake.
- Give up smoking, or at the very least reduce the amount you smoke.
- Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
- Regularly exercise in moderation (intense workouts can make your symptoms worse).
- Take a hot bath, cold shower or apply a heating pad or ice pack.
Some Home Remedies For Restlessness Legs
Make A Temperature Adjustment
Before going to bed, take a cool shower or relax in a warm bath. Use a heating pad or an ice pack on your legs to see what works best. A simple change in temperature might sometimes assist.
Adapt Healthy Sleep Habits
Good sleep habits are beneficial for anybody, but perhaps especially for individuals who have difficulty sleeping, such as those who suffer from RLS.
While sleeping better may not cure your RLS symptoms, it may help you compensate for the sleep loss that comes with it. To make your sleep as restful and restorative as possible, try the following suggestions.
Every day, go to bed and wake up at the same hour.
Maintain a cool, calm, and dark sleeping environment.
Keep distractions in your bedroom to a minimal, such as the TV and phone.
For the two to three hours before bedtime, stay away from electronic screens. The blue light from these devices can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which is important for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.
Horse chestnut seed extract has some evidence to support it as a treatment for vein circulation problems.
Despite the fact that clinical trials have not focused on the specific symptom of restlessness, many study participants reported less leg pain, edema, and itchiness after taking this natural supplement.
It’s available over-the-counter at specialist food and vitamin stores, or your vascular healthcare professional can prescribe it.
Iron Supplementation Is Recommended
RLS can be caused by an iron shortage, which is reversible. If blood tests suggest that you are deficient in iron, your doctor may advise you to take an iron supplement.
Can RLS be mistaken for other conditions?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions due to its overlapping symptoms and similar manifestations. Here are some conditions that can be confused with RLS:
- Leg Cramps:
Leg cramps can cause sudden, painful muscle contractions in the legs, similar to the discomfort experienced in RLS. However, leg cramps are usually temporary and often occur during periods of rest or sleep, while RLS symptoms are relieved by movement.
- Peripheral Neuropathy:
Peripheral neuropathy involves damage to the nerves, resulting in symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or pain in the legs. In some cases, peripheral neuropathy can cause sensations similar to those experienced in RLS. However, peripheral neuropathy typically affects both legs symmetrically, whereas RLS symptoms may be unilateral or more pronounced in one leg.
Akathisia is a side effect of certain medications characterized by an intense urge to move and an inner restlessness. This sensation can be mistaken for RLS, but akathisia is typically caused by medication use and often affects the entire body, including the legs.
- Nocturnal Leg Cramps:
Nocturnal leg cramps are painful muscle contractions that occur during sleep. These cramps can awaken individuals and cause discomfort, but they are different from RLS. Nocturnal leg cramps do not typically involve the uncontrollable urge to move or the uncomfortable sensations in the legs associated with RLS.
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency:
Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the veins in the legs have difficulty returning blood to the heart, leading to swelling, pain, and a heavy sensation in the legs. These symptoms can be mistaken for RLS, but chronic venous insufficiency is usually relieved by elevating the legs, while RLS symptoms require movement for relief.
- Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD):
PLMD involves involuntary leg movements during sleep. While PLMD can occur concurrently with RLS, the two are distinct conditions. PLMD is characterized by repetitive leg movements during sleep, whereas RLS is associated with uncomfortable sensations in the legs that are relieved by movement.
Is it time to visit my healthcare professional about restless legs syndrome?
You should visit your physician to help you exclude any other conditions with similar symptoms. Only a doctor can properly diagnose RLS. Your doctor is able to treat related conditions like iron deficiency and others.
We treat symptoms associated with venous causes of RLS.
Only a Doppler Ultrasound exam will tell you weather or not this is contributing to your personal situation. To schedule a Consultation with our Vein Specialist and receive a doppler ultrasound exam,