Restless Legs Syndrome is a lifelong condition and one can only control the symptoms with lifestyle changes and self-care measures. A warm bath before bedtime can ensure sound sleep.
Restless leg syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease is a common medical condition that affects the nervous system. It causes one to experience an overwhelming and irresistible urge to move the legs and sometimes, the arms as well. It also leads to an unpleasant feeling in the calves, feet and thighs, which may often feel like a creeping and crawling situation. The symptoms of restless legs syndrome can be linked with involuntary jerking of the arms as well as legs, also called periodic limb movements.
Restless legs syndrome tends to affect the patient majorly at night compared with the rest of the day. Even though a lot of patients take anti-inflammatory drugs at night to have a sound sleep, they experience side-effects of taking them such as laziness throughout the day. The sensations that are experienced as a result of restless legs syndrome can make a person get up and move about for some relief. Those people who seek treatment of relief through non-medicine treatments initially, such as a warm bath before bedtime or a massage tend to experience their condition getting back to normal after a period of time. In other patients, the restless leg syndrome can last and especially be prevalent when they are not on medication. The course of this disorder is generally unpredictable.
Here are some more points about RLS.
- RLS can start at any age (even in infants and young children) and is not a disease specifically of the elderly.
- RLS is more common in women as compared to men, and tends to be more severe in middle-aged or older people. By the age 50 the symptoms can cause sleep disruption at night to the extent that it can cause decreased alertness in the daytime and increased daytime sleepiness.
- The RLS symptoms can be mild to intolerable. Symptoms are usually more severe in the evening and night as compared to morning.
- RLS symptoms tends to worsen as the person gets older and in more than 50% of the people the symptoms with age may become severe enough to be disabling.
- It is generally a lifelong condition and cannot be cured. Self-care steps and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms and if these don’t help medications may provide relief for people with restless legs syndrome.
In many people RLS is not diagnosed or misdiagnosed. According to reports the condition is not diagnosed until 10-20 years after symptoms begin in most people. Correct diagnosis is important as in most patients symptoms of RLS can be treated adequately.
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