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Sleeping Disorders: The Concise Guide to Restless Leg Syndrome

April 23, 2018


Sleeping Disorders: A Guide to Restless Leg Syndrome

The Bed King team of bed supply specialists often shares advice on proper sleeping surfaces for individuals who deal with sleeping disorders. In previous articles we discussed insomnia and sleep apnea; today we discuss restless leg syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes a person to feel a strong urge to move their lower limbs, resulting in interrupted nighttime sleep.

What Is the Definition of Restless Leg Syndrome?

Also referred to as Ekbom Syndrome, Willis-Ekbom disease or simply RLS, Restless Legs Syndrome is classified as a dyssomnia and refers to a condition that causes a feeling of pins and needles in the legs that can only be relieved by moving the legs. This feeling occurs during periods of prolonged inactivity and become more pronounced at night. This can lead to difficulty falling and remaining asleep, which in turn causes daytime tiredness and fatigue. In some cases, patients may also be awakened by involuntary limb jerks throughout the night.

There are two primary types of RLS:

  • Primary/Idiopathic RLS. This variant is currently believed to be the result of three overlapping factors. This includes dysregulation of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system (similar as seen in Parkinson's patients), low concentrations of iron, and genetics (in which case it will often present before the age of 45).
  • Secondary RLS. This variant is normally a side-effect of another health issue such as kidney failure, and in some cases pregnancy.

DID YOU KNOW? Restless Leg Syndrome is more common in women. There also seems to be a correlation between a propensity to suffer from depression and being susceptible to RLS.

What Kinds of Treatment are Available?

The treatment prescribed for RLS depends on the severity of the illness, the level of discomfort it causes the patient, as well as the type of RLS. This includes:

  • Improved selfcare: Cutting out caffeine, giving up smoking, doing more exercise, learning relaxation techniques.
  • Massage therapy to sooth the muscles of the legs
  • Medications: Dietary supplements to promote holistic health in conjunction with other treatments; dopamine stimulators, and nerve pain medication.

These treatments have to be prescribed to a qualified physician who has an overview of the particular case and will be able to advise their patient regarding the best course of action in their individual circumstances.

The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.


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