Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) effects as many as 1 in 10 people at some stage in their life. It is a condition that is considered a nervous system disorder that causes uncomfortable feelings in your legs resulting in an urge to move them to get temporary relief.
Symptoms often come on when resting and are worse at the end of the day. No treatment may be needed if symptoms are mild, although medication can ease symptoms if the condition is causing distress. Many patients with this disorder do not go to a doctor to seek medical help which is NOT the right thing to do.
- Cramping in the legs – particularly the calves.
- A creepy-crawly sensation.
- Itching, aching, burning, tingling or throbbing.
- Typically these symptoms come on at the end of the day.
Facts to know about RLS
- Symptoms can be made worse by long periods of sitting – e.g.: long haul flights, long train or bus journeys.
- Symptoms can come on or worsen during pregnancy (1 in 5 women experience symptoms in the last 3 months of pregnancy).
- Often the cause is unknown.
- It is more common with health conditions like –rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, kidney failure or anaemia.
- RSL can run in families
- Many sufferers don’t seek medical help as they consider RSL to be part of aging; not recognizing there may be an underlying cause – like venous disease.
What should I do if I think I have RLS?
- Both of our surgeons say the first thing to do is rule out any venous incompetency.
- This can be done with a consultation with one of our vascular surgeons, they will take a full medical history and carry out a physical examination.
- Our surgeons will organise an ultrasound scan of your legs and a screening blood test.
- You can refer yourself to see one of our vascular surgeons on 0800 834643
Is there a treatment for RLS?
Many of the less severe cases of the condition are not linked to a health problem, so cannot be treated. But there are a few lifestyle changes that can help make sufferers’ lives easier.
- exercising regularly
- establishing regular sleeping patterns
- avoiding alcohol or caffeine at night
- giving up cigarettes
- massaging your calves at the end of the day
- wearing compression socks during the day, for long haul travel or when standing for long periods
For some patients, RLS is associated with a vein problem called Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Book a FREE consultation with one of our registered nurses to learn about our treatment pathways. Contact us today.