Restless legs syndrome is when people with a problem have a strong desire or urge to move their legs. This desire or urge occurs most frequently in the evenings, making it difficult for sufferers of the condition to get to sleep. Other times when restless legs syndrome manifests itself include when a person is lying down or sitting for extended periods, as well as when they are driving or engaged in other activities that require sitting for long periods.

Because the symptoms of this illness will increase when the person tries to relax or sleep, it is also known as a sleep disorder. The signs will improve when the person tries to rest or sleep. Although this ailment is a neurological disorder, its precise etiology is unknown. Many people believe that an imbalance is caused by how the brain regulates the movement of the legs, but several other elements also play an essential role.

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Individuals with this illness may find that exercising their legs, walking around, or shaking their legs relieves the symptoms of this ailment. Treatment for this condition entails the individual taking certain medications or adjusting their way of life.

This article explains how taking self-care measures and the appropriate preventative actions can assist in coping with restless legs syndrome (RLS), a condition that lasts a lifetime and for which there is currently no known medical treatment that can alleviate its symptoms.

There are two different types of Restless legs syndrome: 

  • Primary RLS: It is generally thought that this type of patient has this disorder because the family members have this, and it typically starts in the adult age, and symptoms increase with age.

  • Secondary RLS: It is caused due to underlying other medical conditions such as kidney failure, iron deficiency, diabetes, etc.

It is essential to know which type of Restless legs syndrome exists as the treatment approaches are different for everyone.

Causes of the restless legs syndrome:

The exact cause of the disorder is not fully known, but much research has revealed that nearly half of the people have members who are suffering from this condition.

Other possible factors include:

Chronic diseases: Other medical conditions, including iron deficiency, Parkinson s disease, kidney failure, and diabetes  may increase the risk of RLS.

Medications: Antidepressants, Allergy medications and antihistamines may increase the risk of developing RLS.

Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant, especially in their third month of pregnancy, suffer from these symptoms and usually go off some days after the delivery.

Lifestyle: People already suffering from other sleep disorders are prone to trigger the symptoms of this, and other nicotine products also increase this.

To get effective treatment or improve the symptoms of restless legs syndrome, understanding the underlying cause is significant.

Symptoms of restless legs syndrome:

The principal or primary symptom of RLS is the urge to move the legs, along with an unpleasant sensational movement in the legs.

Other common symptoms include being:

  • Uncomfortable sensation: Crawling, aching, itching sensation in the legs may experience these symptoms.

  • Sleep disturbances: Restless legs the syndrome also interferes with sleep, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep, and results in daytime sleepiness

  • Worsening of the symptoms in the evening: Especially during the night, the symptoms of RLS increase more

  • Night time leg twitching: People who are associated with this may experience the problem of periodic limb movement. And it happens at night during sleep.

It is essential to know the main symptoms so that treatment and diagnosis should be there.

Diagnosis of RLS:

There are no specific tests there to treat this condition. Typically the healthcare provider may ask you to perform the following:

  • Review of medical history: The doctor may ask about the previous medical conditions, if any, or the patient’s medical history. Triggers the RLS.

  • Physical examination: The examiner will examine physically, primarily the legs, looking for signs or if any nerve damage leads to RLS.

  • Sleep study: The healthcare provider may ask you about the complete sleep study to evaluate the sleep quality.

  • Blood tests: These tests are specifically performed to know whether any deficiency or kidney failures which improve the symptoms.

Some international study guidelines for RLS are available to diagnose this condition. The person should meet the following criteria.

  • There is an urge to move your legs which involves an unpleasant sensation in the legs.

  • Symptoms of the RLS are worsening more, especially at night

  • After movement, relief in the legs should be there.

  • All the symptoms mentioned above should not happen due to another medical condition.

If the person is experiencing these conditions, immediate consultation with the doctor is vital.


Treatment options include both pharmacological and non pharmacological approaches:

Non- pharmacological treatments:

  • Lifestyle changes: By making some changes in a person’s daily routine, like regular exercise, healthy diet, reduces the symptoms of RLS.

  • Hot and cold compress: Apply a hard and cold compress to the legs when there is a severe sensation.

  • Massage and stretching: Massaging relieves the problem created in the legs due to RLS.

Pharmacological treatments:

  • Dopamine agonists: Pramipexole and rotigotine are drugs that increase the dopamine level in the brain, which eases the symptoms of RLS.

  • Iron supplements: Increasing the iron level, if it is less, helps to reduce the symptoms of RLS.

  • Opioids: In severe cases where no other treatments are not affecting, only that prescription of this drug is helpful as it has many side effects.

Before considering any medication, the doctor’s consultation is essential as it may interact with other medicines also.

Restless legs syndrome triggers and how to avoid them will help: 

Triggers include: 

  • Medication: A doctor’s consult is vital before going for any medicine. With their knowledge, intake of any drug is advisable.

  • Being still: Longer trips or sitting in one place for a long time. Try to avoid that and take breaks in between.

  • Lack of sleep: RLS is worsening, especially when we go to bed, so maintaining a regular bedtime helps ease the situation.

  • Smoking: Try to avoid smoking which accelerates the RLS. It will improve your overall health.

  • Exercise: Regular or doing training daily, which includes general walking, but more is advisable.

  • Stress: Restless legs syndrome also increases when the stress level increases. Finding the best way to avoid that by doing yoga meditation helps them.

Risk factors for RLS:

There are several risk factors were identified. The common factors include:

  • Family history: Genetics plays a vital role if the family member or relatives have this disorder.

  • Age: It happens to all age groups, but adults are primarily more prone to this restless legs syndrome.

  • Chronic diseases: Other medical conditions such as kidney failure and diabetes may also increase the risk of developing restless legs syndrome.

  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women are more prone to this, especially during three months of pregnancy. After delivery, go off within a month.

  • Iron deficiency: Appropriate iron levels must be in the blood; otherwise, it leads to many problems.

It is important to note that symptoms and risk factors does it mean the person is suffering from restless legs syndrome?

Some people may develop restless legs syndrome without noticeable symptoms. Proper diagnosis and treatment plan helps to lead a healthy life.

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