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Restless Legs Syndrome: Treatment depends on the underlying cause

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Restless legs syndrome requires ad hoc therapy which varies according to the triggering cause: let's see what the treatments are.

Restless legs syndrome can be quite disabling , as it doesn't allow for truly restful sleep. As a result, the quality of life worsens and the patient can also suffer from it on the psychological side. Let's see what are the causes, symptoms and treatment.

Restless Legs Syndrome: What it is and what causes it

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which people experience pins and needles in their lower limbs, especially during the night. It is a chronic problem, of a neurological nature, which negatively affects night rest, also creating sleepwalking . In fact, it causes frequent awakenings because you feel the urgent need to move your legs. It seems that only movement is able to give a minimum of relief, which is why we absolutely cannot speak of restful sleep.

Even today, the specific causes of restless legs syndrome are not known, but there are some risk factors that can lead to its development: iron deficiency anemia , pregnancy and chronic diseases (such as kidney failure, diabetes, Parkinson's disease , rheumatoid arthritis , hypothyroidism , or fibromyalgia ). Furthermore, the problem can occur as a side effect of some psychotropic drugs, medicines used for the treatment of hypertension, antinausea and antihistamines. Finally, excess smoking, alcohol and caffeine, as well as conditions of obesity and lack of physical activity can also contribute to the development of RLS.

As far as the diagnosis is concerned, to date there is no ad hoc test to identify the presence or absence of restless legs syndrome. There are, however, a number of symptoms common to all patients that help doctors confirm the disease. Subjects affected by RLS complain: the need to move the lower limbs to find relief from pins and needles, improvement of symptoms with movement of the legs, worsening of discomfort with rest and acute disturbances during the night and light with sunrise.

woman sleep rest

RLS: Treatment depends on the cause

Treatment of restless legs syndrome mainly depends on the factors that led to its occurrence. For example, anemic patients find relief from an increase in iron in the diet, while pregnant women find relief from taking vitamin B12 and folic acid. The treatments , even if to date there is no definitive cure, all aim at correcting the patient's lifestyle and administering certain drugs. The latter change according to the triggering factor.

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