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RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME (RLS)

" Wherefore to some, when being abed they betake themselves to sleep, presently in the arms and leggs, leapings and contractions to the tendons, and so great a restlessness and tossing of their members ensue, that the diseased are no more able to sleep, than if they were in a place of greatest torture". Sir Thomas Willis, an English physician,  first described it in1672. 

What is Restless leg syndrome?
RLS is a condition which causes an overwhelming urge to move the legs that is often accompanied by an unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evenings or around bedtime. The urge to move is relieved partially or fully with movements or walking and gets worse during rest or physical inactivity. 

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About 5 - 15% of the general population may have RLS. It is more common in women than in men.

What causes restless leg syndrome?
RLS can be primary ( unknown cause). RLS also has a genetic component, can occur in families especially if the onset is before age 40. 

RLS can be associated with the following factors or medical conditions:

  • Pregnancy, especially during the third trimester.

  • Use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine.

  • Iron deficiency

  • Neuropathy

  • End stage renal disease

  • Dialysis

  • Use of certain medications like some antidepressants and antipsychotics, anti-allergy medications like Benadryl.


How is restless leg syndrome treated?


1. Lifestyle changes

  • Limit use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine.

  • Exercise

  • Massage

  • Warm or cold baths

  • Regular sleep schedule

2. Iron supplementation for those with low iron levels
3. Medications - depending on the severity of the symptoms, various medication options are available to relieve the symptoms. 
4. Devices - FDA approved devices with minimal/no side effects, needs prescription.