This is one of the most common uncommon conditions we have come across in our lives but affecting more number of people than type 2 diabetes could. As the name suggests, restless leg syndrome (RLS) causes an unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation in the legs that urges you to move your leg as a reflex action. Symptoms start in the late afternoon or evening hour and attain maximum intensity at night as the person is sedentary, simply sitting or lying in bed. The same is experienced when a person is inactive or sitting for extended time periods (in a plane, while travelling, watching movie, etc.). As the symptom attains peak at night, sleep becomes a great problem.
RLS is categorized both as a sleep disorder, since maximum symptoms get triggered while trying to sleep, and a movement disorder (this is because individuals are forced to move their leg to get some relief). Neurological sensory disorder would be the best classification as symptoms of RLS start from within the brain.
Usual Symptoms of RLS
During the initial stages people with RLS may experience remissions where individuals show improvement in symptoms over a period of few weeks or months before the symptoms become severe once again.
The cause for RLS is unknown in most cases. Genes or low levels of iron in the brain can cause RLS. Certain evidence also points to the fact that RLS is a dysfunction associated with one section of the brain that control movement. People with iron deficiency, end-stage renal disease, certain medications that may aggravate RLS, use of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol, pregnancy (occurs mostly in the last trimester and symptoms usually disappear within 4 weeks after delivery) and neuropathy are at an increased risk of developing RLS.
One can confirm the presence of RLS with these five conditions:
Adapting healthy lifestyle changes, increasing iron intake (if needed), using anti-seizure drugs and other medicines can relieve pain in an individual. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly are the most essential lifestyle changes that need to be adapted by individuals to decrease the effect of RLS. For such healthy adaptations, it is better to get in touch with a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com who can help you take up nutritious eating schedules. RLS is a lifelong condition that has no cure. But treatments can help to alleviate pain and help to bring about sleep in an individual. Symptoms aggravate with age and it is more complex in persons who have some other medical conditions as well. If RLS symptoms are mild and do not cause much discomfort in sleep routines and daytime activities, the condition needs no treatment.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.