Restless Leg Syndrome

legs

Definition: A neurological disorder in which a person moves his legs as a result of irresistible impulse whenever he feels being upset. This gives him a sense of relaxation. This is called restless leg syndrome. It is one of the movement disorders.

In this syndrome, a patient feels unknown sensations in his legs which are not painful but are itchy type of uncomfortable sensations or feelings of pins and needles deep in the legs. On movement, such a patient feels ease. This condition of legs is mostly seemed at night or during rest. This disease can be occurred in any age. It is not life threatening condition.

Etiology

Although the exact cause of this syndrome is unknown but it is found in case of any nerve disease, in diabetes mellitus, obesity, in pregnancy, venous disorders in case of iron deficiency anemia, smoking, peripheral neuropathy, in Parkinson’s disease etc. This disease is thought to be genetically linked and is inherited autosomal dominant trait. 

Signs and Symptoms

Patients of this disease usually feel strange sensations in the lower legs which create an urge to move their legs. On moving the legs they feel comfortable. These sensations are felt in the legs when they are taking rest or when they lay down on the bed. These sensations are like crawling, tingling, itching, aching ones and they last 2 hours or more. These movements also disturb the patient sleep. Patient remains sleepless and fatigued all the day long. They can even make a patient’s sitting worse anywhere where they are sitting. Walking or stretching the muscles of legs give them relieve. There is complaint of motor restlessness as well.

Drugs Causing this syndrome: There are various drugs which result in symptoms of this disease. If patients are having this disease, they should avoid these drugs as they can worsen the disease more. These include antihistamine, antiemetic, antidepressants or withdrawing the benzodiazepines. It has been seen that decrease blood sugar level also makes this condition worse.

Lab Diagnosis

After complete history and physical examination some tests are done. These include checking iron levels in the blood and complete blood test. Doppler ultrasound is essential here. It can check the condition of the vascular system. It tells about any disorder in the venous system accurately.

Treatment*

The treatment is based on relieving the patient from the symptoms and also treating the exact cause of this disease. Dopamine agonists have been found beneficial in treating this disease. These include levo dopa as a first line drug. Other drugs include gabapentine and pregabalin for the removal of symptoms. Clonazepam is also helpful. Benzodiazepam and opioids also provide relief. These all drugs provide symptomatic relief only. If patient is suffering from iron deficiency anemia, he should be given folic acid or other iron supplements. The cure of this disease is not possible till now. There has been seem that this condition become worse in some individual while in other it goes away within few months to years.

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