Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) affects approximately one in ten adults in the United States. It’s becoming more common, too, with higher numbers of both children and adults being diagnosed with the syndrome every year. But what is it? What causes it? And what is the cure? Our vein clinic in Mentor has answers that can help you find relief for your symptoms.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is the name given to a mysterious, overwhelming sensation that you need to move your legs. It is also known as Willis-Ekborn Disease. It can affect both children and adults, although adults seem to be more prone to it. Along with the sensation to move their legs, some people may also experience tingling, aches in the leg muscles, or even the sensation that something is crawling on their skin. Many patients report that their symptoms are worse at night and could even prevent them from falling asleep or staying sleep. It is not, however, something that exclusively happens at night and you may experience the same symptoms when you sit for long periods during the day. Some people find that moving their legs provides relief, although this may only be temporary and symptoms could come back as soon as the movement ceases.
What causes it?
No one is really sure what causes RLS. It’s only diagnosed when all other reasons for the sensation have been ruled out. Some potential causes include:
- Iron deficiency
- Too much caffeine before bed
- Stopping smoking
- Side effects from medications
- Thyroid disorders
- Varicose vein disease
Most doctors will attempt to determine what’s causing your RLS symptoms by starting with the easiest to treat (iron deficiency, too much caffeine, etc.) before moving onto looking for more serious underlying causes (thyroid disorders, diabetes, etc.). Because of this, it can take a long time to be diagnosed with RLS and to find the underlying cause of the issue.
Is it serious?
On its own, no. For most people, it’s more annoying than serious. However, it could be a symptom of a more serious health concern, so it’s not something that you should ignore, either. It may be your body’s way of telling you that you have a health concern that needs to be addressed. RLS can also cause you to lose out on sleep, which is your body’s way of healing itself. Without proper sleep, you can experience more serious issues like depression, anxiety, and even be at a higher risk of stroke and heart disease. For that reason, RLS shouldn’t be ignored and you should be checked out by a doctor.
What are the treatment options?
It depends on the underlying cause of your RLS symptoms. In some cases, simply taking an iron supplement or cutting out the caffeine before bed will do the trick. Other people report that their symptoms simply went away with time, potentially due to changes in their lifestyle. But it’s important to speak to a doctor to determine which action is right for you. They can recommend treatments and even medications in the most severe cases.
How Our Mentor Vein Clinic Can Help with RLS
One of the potential causes of Restless Leg Syndrome is varicose vein disease. According to a study done in California, “RLS is common in patients with…varicose vein disease, and can respond frequently and rapidly to sclerotherapy.” That’s great news for sufferers of RLS, because it means they may be able to find relief through this minimally invasive medical procedure and without requiring medication for the rest of their life!
Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure to treat varicose veins. The procedure involves injecting the veins with a medication that scars the inner lining of the vein and forces the body to reroute your blood supply. The damaged vein is then reabsorbed by the body and disposed of naturally. Our vein clinic uses ultrasounds to guide the injections, providing maximum effectiveness and minimal pain. Because this is a minimally invasive procedure, patients won’t need a lot of recovery time, although you’ll want to avoid heavy exercise for about a week while your body recovers.
Is this the right treatment for your RLS?
It might be, unless you are pregnant, nursing, or suffering from deep vein thrombosis. But if you have all the symptoms of restless leg syndrome as well as varicose veins, it’s definitely worth having your varicose veins treated to see if it provides relief for your RLS as well.
If you’d like to learn more about having your varicose veins treated with minimally invasive procedures in our vein clinic, get in contact with us today. You can give our team a call or contact us through our website. We’d be happy to set up a consultation appointment with our medical team so you can learn more about your varicose vein treatment options and how it could help you find relief for your RLS symptoms!