Restless legs syndrome: symptoms, how to eliminate sleep disorders

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Willis-Ekbom dis­ease, or rest­less legs syn­drome, is char­ac­ter­ized by twitch­ing, dis­com­fort in the legs at rest, in a sta­t­ic posi­tion, and dur­ing sleep. Due to the fact that this con­di­tion can cause insom­nia, it is con­sid­ered as one of the sleep dis­or­ders. Sta­tis­tics show that every tenth per­son on the plan­et, at least once, has expe­ri­enced sim­i­lar symp­toms.

Restless Leg Syndrome: General Facts

Despite the com­plex­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion and a lot of unpleas­ant symp­toms that affect the qual­i­ty of sleep, home treat­ment and lifestyle changes are enough for many patients.

If we talk about the rea­sons, then doc­tors say that most often it is a com­bi­na­tion of men­tal and phys­i­cal fac­tors that affect the patient over a peri­od of time. Gen­der is also traced: it is women who are at risk, and dur­ing preg­nan­cy, the symp­toms only inten­si­fy and progress.

Syndrome types

In clin­i­cal prac­tice, it is cus­tom­ary to dis­tin­guish two main types of the syn­drome: pri­ma­ry, which is also idio­path­ic, and sec­ondary. Each of them has its own caus­es, fea­tures in man­i­fes­ta­tions and, of course, treat­ment.

primary syndrome

Its caus­es are unknown, which is why it is often referred to as idio­path­ic. But, despite the lack of under­stand­ing of the cause, cer­tain char­ac­ter­is­tics can be dis­tin­guished:

    diagnosed in patients over 40 years old, but the first manifestations can be in childhood;
    associated with a genetic factor;
    may persist for life from the moment the first symptoms appear;
    over time, the symptoms of pathology only intensify, become prolonged.

Secondary

If the syn­drome is pro­voked by oth­er dis­eases, doc­tors call it sec­ondary. As a rule, it begins in patients after 45 years, while the fac­tor of hered­i­ty is more clear­ly traced. Doc­tors iden­ti­fy a num­ber of caus­es and fac­tors that can lead to its devel­op­ment:

    diabetes;
    iron deficiency;
    serious kidney disease;
    Parkinson’s disease;
    various neuropathies;
    pregnancy is considered as a factor that enhances manifestations.

Even in the char­ac­ter­is­tic symp­toms and man­i­fes­ta­tions, these two types of syn­drome dif­fer from each oth­er in a num­ber of key points.

Peri­od­ic Dis­or­der

This is a sim­i­lar sleep dis­or­der, which is char­ac­ter­ized by peri­od­ic move­ments, twitch­es, jerks of the legs. Such man­i­fes­ta­tions make you wake up at night, so it’s not nec­es­sary to say that the dream is full.

In some lit­er­a­ture sources, this con­di­tion is con­sid­ered as a pre­req­ui­site for the devel­op­ment of rest­less legs syn­drome.

anxiety symptoms

anxiety symptoms

Symp­toms can affect not only the legs, but also numer­ous aspects of patients’ lives. It’s worth start­ing with the fact that symp­toms can also appear dur­ing wake­ful­ness, when patients are in a lim­it­ed space: an air­plane, a cin­e­ma, a car, etc.

Due to the fact that sleep can­not be called com­plete, and this is one of the caus­es of insom­nia, the doc­tor can diag­nose a num­ber of con­di­tions that inter­fere with a full life: loss of strength, increased fatigue, irri­tabil­i­ty, dete­ri­o­ra­tion in con­cen­tra­tion, etc.

It should be not­ed that insom­nia and poor sleep qual­i­ty are not only a pre­dis­pos­ing fac­tor, but also the cause of numer­ous patholo­gies and dan­ger­ous con­di­tions: depres­sion, decreased immune defense, numer­ous dis­eases of inter­nal organs, infec­tions, etc.

Feel

Patients can describe their feel­ings in dif­fer­ent ways: strange and unpleas­ant sen­sa­tions in the legs, arms, accom­pa­nied by a strong desire to change posi­tion. In addi­tion, oth­er man­i­fes­ta­tions may appear:

    painful sensations;
    the passage of electric current through the legs and arms;
    itching;
    twitching;
    tingling and burning.

The only way to get rid of such unpleas­ant sen­sa­tions is to change your pos­ture, move. Symp­toms can also appear dur­ing moments of inac­tiv­i­ty, such as lying in front of the TV, and not just in a dream. Man­i­fes­ta­tions can wors­en sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the evening, at night, some­times in the morn­ing.

Com­pli­cat­ing the sit­u­a­tion is the fact that symp­toms can wors­en over time, but there can be long peri­ods with­out show­ing any symp­toms.

What treatment do doctors recommend?

If the symp­toms that appear inter­fere with prop­er sleep, cause seri­ous incon­ve­nience and cause a dete­ri­o­ra­tion in the con­di­tion, the doc­tor may pre­scribe a num­ber of med­ica­tions:

    iron preparations. Medications are prescribed only after a clinical blood test and determination of the level of iron in the blood. Taking iron supplements, especially during pregnancy, can significantly reduce the manifestations of the syndrome;
    alpha‑2 agonists work by influencing periodic limb movements during sleep;
    ibuprofen-based drugs can relieve mild symptoms associated with pain;
    anticonvulsants. Able to reduce pain, muscle spasms, as well as manifestations during the day. Only a doctor can prescribe such medicines after a thorough study;
    sedatives that normalize sleep;
    drugs that increase dopamine levels.

General recommendations

In addi­tion to the pre­scribed med­ica­tions, the doc­tor can give gen­er­al advice that can reduce the man­i­fes­ta­tions of the syn­drome and make life eas­i­er for patients. Among them are the fol­low­ing meth­ods:

    warm bath, massage. Relaxation treatments allow you to relax and reduce the intensity of symptoms;
    warm, cold compresses. Patients report that alternating heat and cold before bed helps to relax and reduce symptoms;
    relaxation and various practices: yoga, meditation, etc.;
    some type of exercise.

Sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene

Good sleep is extreme­ly impor­tant, and patients with rest­less leg syn­drome should take care to fol­low cer­tain rules. These include:

    compliance with the temperature regime in the sleep room: dark, cool and enough fresh air;
    go to bed and wake up at the same time;
    it is not recommended to watch TV before going to bed, especially political programs, action films and horror films;
    in the evening, stimulating drinks should be avoided: coffee, strong tea, especially energy drinks and alcohol.

Also, doc­tors do not advise to be zeal­ous with train­ing at night. Phys­i­cal activ­i­ty is impor­tant, but with rest­less legs syn­drome, evening activ­i­ty can only increase the man­i­fes­ta­tion of unwant­ed and unpleas­ant symp­toms.

By Yraa

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