Restless legs syndrome

Legs | Nephrology | Restless legs syndrome (Disease)


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) or Willis-Ekbom disease is a neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move ones body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations. The sensations typically begin or intensify during quiet wakefulness, such as when relaxing, reading, studying, or trying to sleep.

Causes and Risk factors

The cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown in most people. However, restless leg syndrome has been associated with: pregnancy, obesity, smoking, iron deficiency and anemia, nerve disease, polyneuropathy (which can be associated with hypothyroidism, heavy metal toxicity, toxins, and many other conditions), other hormone diseases such as diabetes, and kidney failure (which can be associated with vitamin and mineral deficiency).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Some drugs and medications have been associated with restless leg syndrome including: caffeine, alcohol, H2-histamine blockers (such as ranitidine and cimetidine), and certain antidepressants (such as amitriptyline). Avoidance of alcohol may help some patients, particularly those with a family history of RLS. Avoidance of caffeine-containing drinks is commonly advised, but the evidence linking RLS and caffeine intake is sparse.

However, it seems sensible that a substance that delays sleep onset is not going to help sleep hygiene. Several prescription medications, most of which were developed to treat other diseases, are available to reduce the restlessness in your legs. These include: medications for Parkinsons disease, medications for epilepsy, opioids, muscle relaxants and sleep medications. ...

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