Restless Leg Syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a neurological disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them.
RLS is most often experienced in the evening or at night, causing people with this disorder to feel like their legs are itching, creeping, or crawling. People with this condition may also experience pain, tingling, and numbness in their legs. The severity of symptoms can range from mild to severe.
What is restless leg syndrome (RLS)?
Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition that causes unpleasant sensations in your legs. It usually occurs when you're resting or trying to relax.
RLS symptoms occur when you are resting or trying to relax, especially at night and in the evening. While the factors surrounding it can vary, RLS, for the most part, has links to Parkinson's, as well as a history of depression and iron deficiency.
Who is most likely to have RLS?
Some evidence suggests that restless leg syndrome is a genetic disorder. If you have it, there’s a good chance you could pass it down to your children. In fact, most people with RLS have a family member who also has it.
RLS is more common in women than men, especially middle-aged women. It often occurs during pregnancy — especially during the third trimester. It usually goes away in the weeks following the delivery but can persist in some cases.
Symptoms worsen as evening and night-time approach
Restless leg syndrome most often occurs during evening and night-time hours. The symptoms worsen as the evening approaches and can make it difficult to sleep at night.
If you have this condition, you may experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, which can disrupt your daily routine. That can also cause stress and anxiety because of how it affects your mental well-being. People with RLS often resort to tossing and turning in bed, to allay the restlessness.
If you share a bed, this could unfortunately disrupt your partner's sleep schedule as well.
RLS has been linked with iron deficiency
RLS could be linked to iron deficiency. Iron deficiency in the brain can lead to RLS, and can be caused by blood loss, low dietary intake, or chronic disease. In fact, the prevalence of RLS increases with age.
Iron deficiency can be treated by naturally increasing your iron intake, or with iron supplements and medical intervention if necessary. If you're anaemic or iron deficient, your doctor may recommend an iron supplement to help alleviate the symptoms.
Iron deficiency is a common cause of restless leg syndrome (RLS). In fact, many people who have RLS also have low levels of ferritin — a measure of stored iron in the body — and taking an iron supplement can help relieve their symptoms as well.
However, don't take any supplements without talking to your doctor first. Iron supplements are not safe for everyone, so it's important that you know if this treatment is right for you and under what circumstances it should be used.
If you decide that an iron supplement could help relieve your symptoms but aren't sure whether or not it's safe for you, talk with your doctor about the pros and cons before making a decision.
Your doctor may recommend an iron supplement if your blood tests show that you're anaemic or iron deficient
If your doctor suspects that you have restless leg syndrome, they may order blood tests to check for anaemia. If so, your doctor may recommend an iron supplement.
Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes sensations of unpleasant tingling in the legs and feet. In many cases, those feelings can be alleviated by taking an iron supplement — but before you take any supplements on your own, it's important to talk with a medical professional first.
Try avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco for a week
There are several things you can do to reduce the symptoms of RLS. First, try avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco for a week to see if it improves your sleep quality.
It's also important to talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine that you've been prescribed by a physician. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding and have RLS, make sure you tell your doctor about your symptoms so that they can help determine the best course of action to treat them.
It's important to talk to your doctor if you think you might have restless leg syndrome, especially if it's been going on for a long time.
If left untreated, the condition may lead to other health problems such as depression and anxiety. Your doctor can help determine if the cause is an iron deficiency or another issue that needs treatment.
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