Medical conditions related to restless legs

Medical conditions related to restless legs
December 16 11:18 2015 Print This Article

restless legsRestless leg syndrome is a condition which can affect men and women of all ages but tends to be far more prevalent amongst women over the age of 50. For this reason, it has often been dismissed as simply being one of the more minor side-effects of the menopause, but this represents a huge understatement of the impact that it can have.

Much of this impact stems from the manner in which the syndrome manifests itself. Although it can occur at any time of the day and night, it is far more common for sufferers to be effected during the night, and in particular when they are in bed trying to go to sleep.

The symptoms, as the name suggests, consist, in the main, of an urge to keep moving the legs which can be so strong that it leads to the patient being completely unable to keep them still. This phenomenon is often accompanied by aches and pains around the feet and legs, and many sufferers also describe a tingling sensation on their skin and inside their leg which feels unpleasantly as if they have insects crawling upon them.

Taken at face value these symptoms are serious enough in their own right, not least because they can often lead to patients virtually never getting a decent night’s sleep. As anyone who has ever suffered from insomnia will attest, lack of sleep can have detrimental knock on effects throughout a person’s life, and has even been linked to conditions as serious as diabetes and heart problems.

restless legs1If you’re legs are effected in this manner you should go and see a doctor as soon as you can, rather than simply putting up with the ‘inconvenience’. Your doctor will analyse your symptoms and general state of health in order to ascertain exactly what might be causing your Restless Leg Syndrome. There is no single agreed cause of the syndrome. In some cases it can be traced to an iron deficiency, problems with the thyroid gland or kidney issues. Each of these can be checked and measured via tests and the relevant treatment prescribed – whether this involves medication or simply dietary advice – meaning the patient is relieved of Restless Leg Syndrome and the underlying cause.

Some doctors feel that there is a link between Restless Leg Syndrome and the way in which the patient regulates the dopamine in their system; a naturally occurring chemical which helps to control muscle movements. More recent studies, meanwhile,  have suggested a link between the syndrome and the presence of varicose veins.

Varicose veins are often thought of as being mainly cosmetic in nature and requiring surgery to treat. Neither of these is in fact true. The veins – caused by a breakdown of the valves controlling blood flow in the legs – can be painful as well as unsightly, and can now be treated quickly and with a minimal recovery period without the need for invasive surgery.

Even if the veins have not yet become visibly apparent, they can be identified via a simple scan, and modern treatments, which seal the vein in question rather than removing it, are non-surgical and only require a single visit to the clinic or surgery. The advantages of dealing with varicose veins are multiple – the risk of disfigurement will be allayed, any discomfort prevented and the intrusive symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome brought to an end.

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Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan is a health enthusiast and has written several health articles for various health magazines.

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