Restless legs are currently one of the most common neurological disorders. It’s a really uncomfortable tingling and itching sensation in the legs, and the need to move them to get relief. This condition not only affects a person’s sleep but also has an effect on emotions.
This disorder, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, may seem strange and harmless. How small a tingling sensation at a person’s extremes can supposedly be considered a disorder? How can such harmless symptoms be diagnosed?
Those who experience this on a daily basis know that it is not as harmless as it sounds. For some people, Restless Legs Syndrome is tolerable, but for others, it means poorly sleeping nights, not being able to sit down properly, and feeling irritated and exhausted – both physically and mentally.
So what we are talking about now is not a trivial matter. We are now talking about a condition that affects more than 10% of the world’s population. It is a chronic syndrome for which there is no cure, but it can still be treated.
Restless Legs Syndrome: What Are Its Symptoms?
Restless legs can affect all people, regardless of gender, culture, or age. It is common in young children, although it usually starts for the first time in people aged 40-45. Symptoms include:
- Unpleasant tingling in the limbs. This is most common in the feet, but can also occur in the hands.
- Many patients say it feels like an electric shock, while others say it feels like ants are walking under the skin.
- Problems start in the afternoon and worsen at night, especially when the person is at rest, whether he is sitting or lying down.
- To relieve this strong feeling of burning or itching, a person must move or shake their feet.
- Symptoms range from tolerable sensations to intolerable ones. Inability to sleep can lead to high anxiety.
It is important to mention that these symptoms do not go away or get worse. Instead, they tend to get worse.
Why do I have Restless Legs Syndrome?
Like many other disorders and health problems, the origin of Restless Legs Syndrome is not clear. However, we know that it has to do with genetic factors and that the mechanisms that cause these symptoms lie in the nervous system. Relevant factors identified:
- The circuits that control dopamine in the basal ganglia do not function properly.
- Iron deficiency and anemia are possible factors.
- Renal failure and diabetes appear to co-occur with restless legs syndrome.
- Medications such as antipsychotics, some antidepressants, and antihistamines may cause this syndrome as a side effect.
- Pregnant women can also suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome.
What treatments are available for Restless Legs Syndrome?
At this point, we need to make a recommendation. If you start to feel itching or other problems in your legs during the night, you should see a doctor. The origin may be a circulatory problem or you may indeed have Restless Legs Syndrome.
What starts as a mild nuisance can ultimately affect your quality of life and mental health. Insomnia and exhaustion can be real problems, meaning they should be treated as soon as possible.
- Medication is the primary form of treatment. This includes dopaminergic drugs such as ropinirole and antiepileptic drugs such as gabapentin.
- A good sleep rhythm is a useful recommendation.
- Foot massage can help significantly.
- There are also massage pads that are really helpful in alleviating this disorder.
There is no cure for this disorder, and treatment focuses only on the symptoms of this syndrome. If you have Restless Legs Syndrome, try new techniques and treatments. Find yourself an approach that works best for you, one that allows you to live a normal life and sleep well.