Restless leg syndrome is considered as a disturbing disorder. The symptoms of this condition include burning, itching or aching legs especially when at rest and an overwhelming desire to move the legs. Due to the symptoms, it can lead to severe sleep disturbances.
Even today, there is no specific test for restless leg syndrome. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms, physical examination and elimination of other possible conditions. If you want to learn how to manage the symptoms, read here.
Children with restless leg syndrome
Remember that restless leg syndrome not only affects adults, but also children as well. Once the symptoms manifest in childhood, there is often a familial link. Take note that a parent has a 50/50 chance of passing the trait to their children. The symptoms in children are similar with the adults and can lead to sleeping difficulties that can be mistaken as a behavioral problem.
Restless leg syndrome and pregnancy
Some pregnant women have restless leg syndrome in which the symptoms typically start in the third trimester. The reasons why pregnant women are susceptible to restless leg syndrome are not clear but can be linked to hormonal changes, imbalances in the neurotransmitter called dopamine and mineral deficiencies. It is good to note that in most cases of pregnancy-related cases of restless leg syndrome, the symptoms vanish within days or a few weeks after the baby is born.
Connection with iron
Based on studies conducted, it revealed that the lack of iron or faulty use of iron can lead to restless leg syndrome. The brain needs iron to help generate dopamine which is a chemical that helps the brain control movement. There are also certain conditions that can affect how the body utilizes iron such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure and rheumatoid arthritis.
Medications and other substances
There are some medications that can instigate restless leg syndrome including those that prevent dizziness and nausea. Allergy and cold medications that contain antihistamine and calcium channel blockers can also cause the condition as well as antidepressants and antipsychotics.
In most cases, the symptoms vanish when the individual stops using these medications. For those who are using prescription medications, he/she should not stop taking them until a doctor is consulted. Other substances such as alcohol and tobacco can also cause or worsen the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. It is best to avoid them in order to properly manage the condition.
When to consult a doctor
Once the individual has symptoms of restless leg syndrome that persists, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor. The individual should be prepared to provide a complete medical history as well as a list of over-the-counter and prescription medications used. The doctor will also check for any underlying conditions.
Unless the cause is a certain medication, pregnancy or a medical condition, the doctor could not always determine the trigger. On the other hand, there are some medications and other remedies that can help ease the symptoms to sleep better at night.