What is Restless Legs Syndrome? What are the Symptoms and Treatment Methods?

iron deficiency makes legs restless
iron deficiency makes legs restless

An uncomfortable feeling like burning, stinging, and sometimes tingling in my legs starts when I sit or lie in bed in the evening, that is, when I'm resting...

I feel the need to constantly move my legs to relax… These problems are so severe at night that it is impossible to sleep! Even though my complaints decrease when I get out of bed and move around the house, it continues with all its intensity when I go to bed… Most nights, I can only fall asleep towards the morning when my complaints subside… Sleepless nights are costly; I wake up tired in the morning, and I have serious problems in my family, work and social life because I am extremely sleepy during the day! If you suffer from such problems in your legs, especially at night, beware! “Restless Legs Syndrome” may be the reason you are sleep deprived at night!

The problem of 3 million people in our country!

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS); It is a picture that manifests itself with the desire to move the legs, especially in the evening and when staying still, and accompanying symptoms such as pain, stinging, tingling and burning. In our country, 100 out of every 4 people are diagnosed with Restless Legs Syndrome. In other words, an average of 3 million people in our country struggle with this syndrome. Although it can be seen in all age groups, the risk increases with age. Acıbadem University Atakent Hospital Neurology Specialist Prof. Dr. Murat Aksu, Stating that early diagnosis and treatment are very important in Restless Legs Syndrome with sleep movement disorder, he says, "The adjustments to be made in life habits and drug treatment applied when needed, together with non-drug methods, can alleviate or even completely eliminate this syndrome."

If there is even one of these symptoms ... 

Although Restless Legs Syndrome usually starts in the evening and increases its severity at night, it can also develop during the day when we cannot move our legs for a long time due to long travels or meetings. Neurology Specialist Prof. Dr. Murat Aksu lists the symptoms of this syndrome as follows:

  • The development of an uncomfortable sensation such as burning, stinging, tingling and pain in the legs
  • The urge to move the legs because of the uncomfortable feeling
  • The onset or exacerbation of symptoms in the evening. It is most severe at night when lying down.
  • Burning, stinging, tingling, and pain sometimes occurring in other parts of the body (such as arms, trunk, abdomen, genetics) in addition to the legs
  • Problems worsen when inactive
  • Reduction of complaints when moving, at least during movement
  • Decrease or disappearance of the problems that develop in the legs in the morning

Iron deficiency legs' restlessit makes

Although the exact mechanism of Restless Legs Syndrome is not known, it is thought to be caused by a functional disorder in the dopaminergic nerve pathways in the brain stem and spinal cord. Genetic predisposition is of great importance in this syndrome. So much so that one out of every 2 people diagnosed with Restless Legs Syndrome has a family history. prof. Dr. Pointing out that iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of Restless Legs Syndrome, Murat Aksu said, “In addition, magnesium or folic acidity, pregnancy, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, advanced kidney failure and some drugs are among the risk factors. " says.

Patient history is the best method for diagnosis.

Neurology Specialist Prof. Dr. Murat Aksu stated that the best method for the diagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome is to listen to the patient and said, “A good history and neurological examination are sufficient for diagnosis. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to do a sleep test to make a diagnosis. After the diagnosis is made, blood tests can be used to determine the cause of the disease, and if necessary, EMG (Electromyography) method can be used.

Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine

The first goal in treatment is to improve the patient's sleep and quality of life. If there is no medical problem causing Restless Legs Syndrome, first of all, adjustments in living habits and non-drug methods are applied. "Ensuring sleep hygiene and limiting alcohol if consumed are the first rules that the patient should pay attention to," said Prof. Dr. Murat Aksu continues: “Changes in life habits such as doing light or moderate stretching exercises before going to sleep, taking a shower with warm-cold water, limiting caffeine-containing beverages such as tea and coffee from noon, and quitting smoking can be beneficial. In addition, methods such as massage and stimulating the nerves near the skin surface with electrical signals can also be effective. If a medical condition such as iron deficiency is detected in the examinations, treating this problem ensures the disappearance of the syndrome. If adequate benefits are not obtained from the adjustments made in living habits and non-drug treatments, drug treatment is started at the last stage. Today, with drug treatment, it is possible to eliminate the symptoms of the disease and to spend the night comfortably.

Armin

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