Restless Leg Syndrome is a disorder that causes the sufferer to experience uncomfortable sensations in the limbs, most often in the legs, which are alleviated only by moving the affected limbs. It is one of the many issues that fall under the umbrella of Movement Disorders. Anyone can experience RLS, but it is most common in middle-aged and older adults. People with RLS often find it hard to describe what the symptoms feel like: it might be “pins and needles,” “creepy crawlies,” or an itch that simply can’t be scratched. Nothing helps dispel these sensations except moving the legs.
Restless Leg Syndrome occurs most often when the legs are at rest — at night, during periods of relaxation, or when sitting for a long time such as in class, on a plane, or at one’s work desk. RLS typically is at its worst at night and least bothersome in the morning. As such, it can be very disruptive to sleep, causing or aggravating a Sleep Disorder, both to the person suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome and to his or her bed partner.
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?
Unfortunately, the cause of RLS is still unknown. It often runs in families, so there may be a genetic factor, but it has yet to be pinpointed. Sometimes, but not always, it is accompanied by another disorder, such as Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, and peripheral neuropathy. Often the person with Restless Leg Syndrome also has an iron deficiency. There is a correlation between the amount of iron in the body and the production of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a natural substance that is required by the brain to control movement in the body.
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