Understanding Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Care you can count on; relief you can feel.

Restless legs syndrome is one of the most common sleep and movement disorders in the country.

Affecting nearly 10% of adults and 4% of children, this condition can cause an unrelenting urge to continuously move your legs due to feelings of discomfort in one or both legs.

Although a condition of its own, restless leg syndrome is often tied to venous insufficiency. In fact, in patients that have both RLS and venous insufficiency, studies have shown a significant reduction in RLS symptoms after direct treatment of venous insufficiency.

At Texas Endovascular, we understand how much of a toll RLS and venous insufficiency can have on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, especially if its symptoms are interrupting your sleep cycle or everyday life.

The good news is that you can significantly reduce symptom severity and occurrence with the proper adjustments and professional medical venous-focused intervention.

Let’s discuss restless legs syndrome in more detail, including it’s ties to venous insufficiency.

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs.

Also known as Willis-Ekborn disease, this condition can affect anyone at any age and generally becomes worse the older you get.

Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome

Although the exact cause of RLS is widely unknown, experts believe that a combination of environmental factors and genetics is at play.

Studies suggest that RLS is directly related to iron deficiency in certain parts of the brain, causing a dopamine malfunction that could signal the excessive need for unnecessary movement, especially in the legs.

Another common cause of RLS is venous insufficiency, as lack of proper circulation can lead to painful and unrelenting symptoms in the legs.

RLS can also be triggered by certain medications, lifestyle changes, caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine.

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Restless Legs Syndrome Symptoms

The most common symptom of RLS is the continuous urge to move your legs.

Common symptoms that accompany this urge include:

  • sensations that begin while at rest, especially when sitting or laying down
  • nighttime leg twitching
  • relief with exercise, and specific leg movements like walking or stretching

Although the sensation experienced by those with RLS can range in intensity and type, they have been described as:

  • crawling
  • pulling
  • throbbing
  • aching
  • itching
  • electric zaps

It is common for symptoms to come and go. Some people can go months without experiencing any symptoms at all.

Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome

Depending on the severity and frequency of your symptoms, your doctor may advise various treatment options that could include:

  • warm baths
  • the application of warm or cold packs to the affected legs
  • regular exercise
  • caffeine reduction
  • a sleep cycle change
  • iron supplements
  • prescription medications such as muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, opioids to relieve severe symptoms, or, even, medication that increases dopamine in the brain

If you are experiencing RLS it is important to speak with your doctor to determine the best treatment regimen for your unique lifestyle and health needs.

Comprehensive Treatment You Can Feel

If you believe you have RLS or are experiencing symptoms consistent with the condition, you should seek medical care for further diagnosis and treatment options.

Our vein specialists at Texas Endovascular are experienced in caring for restless leg syndrome and various vein diseases that can affect the legs. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact uscontact uscontact us today.

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