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The restless leg syndrome and its unusual symptoms
Granted that it is a bit unusual in its manifestations, the restless leg syndrome affects nearly 15% of the Americans and it can occur from various sources, including as a symptom for other medical conditions. Its manifestations revolve around the inability to rest because of the strong urge to keep moving the members, especially feet, but also the hands in some cases.
Although this could sound hilarious, it is an affection that could affect one’s lifestyle pretty dramatically. The patient cannot rest properly, leading to an inability to sleep and rest. During the nighttime, the members may begin twitching, causing the sudden urge to move them all the time, which diminishes the sensation slightly. However, the problem will reappear as soon as the patient gets back to sleep and the consequences could quickly go downhill.
Being unable to rest often results in daytime sleepiness, low levels of energy, the incapacity to focus on even the most common tasks, irritability and even anxiety and depression in the more severe cases.
What is causing restless leg syndrome?
The restless leg syndrome often comes as a symptom of various diseases and has been usually linked to affections such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, low levels of iron in the blood, kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis and even as a symptom of pregnancy. In these cases, in particular, addressing the restless leg syndrome means addressing the cause, hence, treating the diseases that cause it.
However, the actual factors causing the disease in the first place are mostly unknown. What it is known is that the restless leg syndrome seems to be, at least in part, a genetically inherited disorder. Approximately 60% of all the cases ever recorded come from a genetically similar background, proving that the restless leg syndrome usually runs in family.
But the actual mechanism of the disorder is still not clearly understood, although there is a promising theory, based on the several studies that have taken place. According to the researchers, the restless leg syndrome is linked to iron and dopamine deficiencies.
Prevention and treatment
Unfortunately, preventing the disorder from occurring is rather difficult, because the actual mechanism of prevention has never been studied seriously. Especially since the restless leg syndrome is a genetically inherited condition for almost 3 quarters of the cases. So the actual prevention mechanism refers to preventing the diseases that this affection has been associated with.
Simply by doing this will diminish the impact of the disease and reduce the risk of developing it pretty considerably. The treatment, on the other hand, is a whole new different area. There are mainly several measures used in reducing the impact of the restless leg syndrome and these are:
- Lifestyle changes
As it turns out, the restless leg syndrome could be greatly reduced simply by resourcing to lifestyle changes and adopting educated changes in our daily habits. This means that we should avoid drinking alcohol regularly, we should give up smoking and we should embrace a more rigorous sleeping hygiene. Sleeping hygiene refers to improving the quality of sleep, by getting rid of all the habits that could affect it, like consuming caffeine-filled products in the evening, sleeping at reasonable hours and so on.
- Home remedies
For the most part, the restless leg syndrome symptoms are greatly brought down when the patient is moving around and will also immediately reappear as soon as he goes back in resting mode. Which is why, the most used treatment method is the one that mimics the movement, by stimulating the muscles through vibration. It is a good counter-measure and it works great especially during the night, greatly improving the sleeping sessions.
But there are also other ways of lowering the impact of the symptoms, like massaging and stretching the muscles, taking hot baths or applying ice pads on the affected areas.
The professional treatment of the restless leg syndrome refers to using dopamine antagonists and gabapentin enacarbil. These two are the most commonly used in treating the affection. In addition, pain relievers can be used, or anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and ketoprofen, among others.
These are particularly efficient against the restless leg syndrome because they also help in preventing some of the symptoms when treating the vitamin deficiencies associated with it. We are talking about iron, folic acid, vitamin B and magnesium among the most effective and essential ones.
Besides these measures, you can also make sure to avoid the affection from ever occurring, regardless whether you are more predisposed to it by genetic means or not. In this regard, you should avoid maintaining the same position for too long, do some exercises daily and lay low of caffeine and tobacco.