1. Signs to look out for Restless Leg Syndrome. 2. Some stretches for Restless Leg Syndrome. 3. Self –Help treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome. 4. 5 common myths about Restless Leg Syndrome. 5. Latest in Research on Restless Leg Syndrome 6. Is Restless Leg Syndrome Hereditary in Nature? 7. How Diet and Exercise can help Restless Leg Syndrome? 8. What role does lifestyle play in Restless Leg Syndrome? 9. Medications used in treating Restless Leg Syndrome. 10. Importance of good sleep in Restless Leg Syndrome. Cure restless leg syndrome Signs to look out for Restless Leg Syndrome. Restless leg Syndrome as the name suggests is associated with the unpleasant sensations in the legs. These sensations are of varied nature and can range from burning, aching, itching, and tingling to even numbness and no sensations at all. Not only these sensations differ from person to person they can vary in their intensity and frequency. One thing that is common in all cases of RLS is a strong urge to move the legs. Movement brings immediate relief though it may be temporary and sensations may return as soon as the movement is stopped. Another distinctive feature of this problem is that it is most dominant or frequent in the periods of rest or inactivity. Not only this, the symptoms seem to worsen when a person is sitting, lying down or trying to relax. This is especially troublesome as people are restricted in the movement while travelling or during meetings etc. and this problem keeps getting worse and worse. While immediate relief can be obtained by getting up and moving but where this is not possible, a person may divert the mind by engaging in some other activity such as knitting, solving crossword or playing a video game etc. RLS may also be called a nocturnal problem as it is either not present in the mornings or is very mild and infrequent. The real trouble starts in the evening with the gradual worsening of the symptoms as the night approaches. At night a person suffering from RLS may find it difficult to sleep due to restlessness resulting in disruption of sleep and insomnia in extreme cases. Sleep disorders or sleep related problems are the most serious issues associated with RLS and an affected person may be impaired in their ability to perform to an optimum level. For more Information about restless leg syndrome click here Some stretches for Restless Leg Syndrome. Although it is commonly believed that RLS is a neurological problem, the evidence in this regards is inconclusive. There are also some who believe RLS to be a result of insufficient blood circulation. Whatever is the cause, exercise has been found to be very effective in dealing with the symptoms of RLS. Simple stretching exercise can help a lot in alleviating these symptoms. Here is a list of three stretches for you to get started; • Calf Stretch: Stand against a wall and stretch out your arms. Elbows are to be nearly straight and palms shall be flat against the wall. Slightly bend the right knee and move the left foot back a foot or two so that the heel and foot are flat on the floor. Stay in this position for about 20-30 seconds. Come back to upright position and now repeat the stretch with the other leg. Do a few repetitions without over stretching yourself. • Hip Stretch: Take a chair and place it against the wall for support. Raise your left foot and place it squarely on the chair. Now keeping the spine straight, slowly press your pelvis forward so that you can feel a stretch in the thigh of right leg. Stay in this position for about 20-30 seconds. Come back to normal position and now repeat the stretch with the other leg. Do a few repetitions while alternating legs. • Front Thigh Stretch: In this stretch one can stand parallel to a wall to balance themselves. Keeping one leg straight, bend the other leg so that you can hold its ankle and bring it closer to your hip. Stay in this position for about 20-30 seconds. Come back to normal position and now repeat the stretch with the other leg. Do a few repetitions like this. For more information on excersises to help with restless leg syndrome Click here ! Self –Help treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome RLS is a permanent and lifelong condition and a person suffering from it has to learn ways to deal with it. This condition is more common in its mild or moderate form where medication in not normally prescribed. Medication may provide immediate relief but it has side effects and as such it is not recommended for long term use. In such a situation, it is best for a person to look for self help treatments. • One must be careful in their eating and drinking habits. A wide ranging diet rich in iron, folate and other minerals and vitamins is very essential. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine based beverages is strictly advised. • Alcohol and other stimulants or sedatives are to be equally avoided. Any medications based on these should not be taken. • Stress can be a big aggravating factor in RLS symptoms. Practice some form of relaxation such as meditation etc. to reduce stress. • An active work setting can be another solution for those experiencing daytime symptoms. Take frequent stretch breaks at work. • It has been found that pressure can help in reliving some discomfort of restless legs. You may try wearing compression socks or stockings to see if they help. • It is important that your friends, family members and co-workers are aware of your condition. This is likely to make them more accommodating and as a result you will be more comfortable. • In situations where movement is restricted such as in movies or while travelling in plane or train, it is advisable to take an aisle seat so that you are free to get up and move. The treatments listed here may not completely erase the symptoms but if a disciplined approach is followed, relief can be obtained to a great extent. For more Information on restless leg syndrome Click here ! 5 Common Myths about Restless Leg Syndrome Despite the fact that about 10% of U.S. population suffers from RLS, the condition often goes undiagnosed. For most patients the condition is merely an annoyance or as serious as an itchy toe. This lack of awareness has led to several misconceptions about this problem. The five most common myths are listed below; • RLS is a Concoction of Pharmaceutical Giants to sell their Drugs: Drug Company advertising has in fact helped in increasing awareness of this condition. The experts believe that RLS is a real condition, established after a lot of research and efforts are on to create a laboratory test to confirm patient diagnosis. • Symptoms are always mild: This is a common misconception especially with those who are not the sufferers. The truth is that the disease is progressive and it only becomes worse with age. • RLS affects only pregnant women: RLS is found to be common in pregnant women but in pregnant women this problem is mostly temporary and often disappears after the delivery. For majority of patients it is a lifelong condition and it often worsens with age. • RLS is hereditary and runs in family: There is a strong relation of RLS with genetics, and up to two thirds of patients have some familial connection. However researchers are not sure as to how much of this is caused by genes or if there is any connection at all. • RLS affects only adults: Though the condition is definitely more prominent in adults but there are a sizable number of children who exhibit its symptoms. About 75% of children affected with RLS were found deficient in iron which has been attributed to presence of lactic acid in their milk, interfering iron absorption. It is important that a person remains vigilant of these and other myths and shall always have a true picture of their condition. If there is some doubt regarding any symptom, it is always best to consult a doctor and have it checked and properly diagnosed. Information on this condition can be found Here ! Latest in Research on Restless Leg Syndrome When a person is dealing with a problem such as RLS which is a life-long condition without a permanent cure, it is important that one keeps themselves aware of all the latest developments in this area. • A group of scientists from US, Canada and Europe studied about 5000 RLS patients and 7280 patients without it. This study was published in PLoS Genetics in July 2011 and lists new Genetic risk factors for this disorder. The scientists have uncovered two new genetic mutations that play a role in RLS, although their exact connection is still uncertain. • A Harvard University Study was published in the Journal of Hypertension in October 2011. In this study the researchers analyzed data from 65,500 female nurses with average age below 50 and the results reveal that middle aged women who experience RLS are 41% more likely to have hypertension than women without RLS symptoms. • In a study by Dr.Mauro Manconi of Vita-Salute University in Milan, published in medical journal on Neurology in December 2010, it has been indicated that women who suffer RLS symptoms during their first pregnancy are more likely to suffer them in future pregnancies as well. Moreover women with RLS during pregnancy were four times more likely to get it later in life than those who didn’t have it. • Dr.Arshad Jahangir, M.D., professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, conducted a study in 2010 on 584 patients with RLS. The patient’s leg twitches at night were measured and compared with their echocardiograms. The results indicated that patients with severest symptoms of RLS were more likely to suffer from heart ailments. There is more and more research being done to see how certain disorders affect one another. One cannot take the risk of treating a problem in isolation and shall be aware of its wide ranging consequences. Relieve The symptoms of restless leg syndrome here ! Is Restless Leg Syndrome Hereditary in Nature? RLS has been a very perturbing problem for medical fraternity. No one was able to pin point the exact cause o this condition. For a long time, there is a debate going on regarding the hereditary nature of this syndrome. It is well known that more than 60% cases of RLS are familial i.e. the syndrome was present in more than one family member. Many studies have been conducted in the past to establish a reliable genetic connection but the results remained inconclusive. However two recent studies published in top medical journals have indicated a strong genetic link responsible for the symptoms of restless legs. In the first study published in New England Journal of Medicine, blood samples from more than 1000 Icelanders and Americans were analyzed. The DNA of people suffering from RLS was compared to DNA of people without the symptoms. A certain variation in the human genome was detected which probably accounted for 50% of cases. In the second study published in Nature Genetics, the DNA of 400 Germans and Canadians with a family history of the syndrome were compared the DNA of 1600 who did not have it. This study found variation in three areas of genome. It identifies the same gene variation found in the first study as well as two others. These were also found to be responsible for 50% increase in the risk of the syndrome. These studies are a great advance on the previous research and provide a big blow to the normal misconception that RLS symptoms exist more in mind than in body. It is now abundantly clear that this problem is inherited through genetic variations. Although the influence of the affected genes on the response of the brain is still uncertain but the scientists believe that this discovery will now lead to developing effective treatment. More information on restless leg syndrome Click here ! How Diet and Exercise can help Restless Leg Syndrome? RLS is a common problem with one in ten people suffering from its symptoms. It is different from other ailments as the exact nature of its origin is still not fully understood. It was earlier thought that RLS is purely a neurological problem and medication is the only treatment. However various studies in this field have shown that there a number of contributing factors leading to this condition. One of the main factors responsible for RLS is the deficiency of certain vital minerals such as iron, folate and magnesium in the body. It is therefore important to eat a wide ranging diet in all essential nutrients. In general one shall include a lot of leafy vegetables such as spinach, fruits like apple, whole wheat products and some portion of cereals in one’s diet. In addition one may need food supplements to boost up the body strength but these shall be taken only under the guidance of a trained dietician or on recommendation of a doctor. Alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants are also known to aggravate the symptoms and as such these must be avoided completely or their intake reduced to minimum possible. The most common feature in this condition is an irresistible urge to move the body as it provides immediate relief from the unpleasant sensations. It has been found that some form of regular exercise is beneficial for all the patients of RLS. There are many light exercises which a patient of RLS may try to get immediate as well as long term relief from their symptoms. Any exercise routine should include walking as it tones up the muscles of entire body and promotes blood circulation. In addition, one may incorporate stretching as well as aerobic exercises in their schedule. Before going to bed, some calf stretches are helpful to relieve stress from legs and reduce night time jerking and disruption of sleep. More information on restless leg syndrome can be found here ! What role does lifestyle play in Restless Leg Syndrome? In today’s world a person’s lifestyle has a great bearing on all aspects of their life. Hectic pace, abnormal work hours and tight deadlines play havoc on an individual’s health. Stress, which is a byproduct of such a lifestyle, is one of the major contributors to RLS. It has been observed that changes in lifestyle can go a long way in not only alleviating the symptoms of RLS but also in increasing general well being of an individual. The most important aspect of lifestyle that a patient of RLS shall immediately attend to is their sleep. Following a regular sleep routine such as retiring to bed at same time in the evening and getting up at regular time in the morning can reduce the night time disruptions to a great extent. In some cases the patients can also get relief by delaying their sleep cycle i.e. by getting up late in the morning. Another crucial factor contributing to RLS is the intake of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco based products. The patients of RLS will do well to completely avoid these substances but in any case their amount shall be reduced to as little as possible. Other sedatives and certain drugs such as anti-nausea, anti-depressants, neuroleptics etc. should also be avoided as these aggravate the problem. In fact a person suffering from this syndrome must be especially careful about the diet which should include lots of vitamins and minerals. The symptoms seem to be more pronounced during periods of inactivity and relaxation. Thus patients of this syndrome should keep themselves busy and mentally engaged. Concentration on some task can provide temporarily relief and may be a person’s only option during meetings or while travelling. It is also good to follow some sort of exercise routine which will keep the patient healthy as well provide long term relief from this problem. Lifestyle and restless leg syndrome the FACTS ? Medications used in treating Restless Leg Syndrome Medication is usually the last option that shall be tried by a person suffering from RLS. It is always advised to first treat any underlying condition of RLS such as iron deficiency or peripheral neuropathy. If no such conditions are present then the treatment should focus on lifestyle modifications. In the last resort when these are also not effective, one may opt for pharmacologic methods. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved of two medications for the treatment of Restless Leg Syndrome. These are: 1. Pramipexole – Brand Name is Mirapex 2. Ropinirole – Brand Name is Requip These medications were originally developed to treat Parkinson’s disease. These drugs increase the amount of Dopamine in the brain which leads to reduction in the motion of legs. The short term side effects of these medications are usually mild such as nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue. Some other medications which are used in treating RLS include the following; 1. Pain Killers such as Codeine, Vicodin, Lortab etc. These can provide relief in cases of severe and continuous pain. However these pills are addictive and should not be taken regularly. These may also cause nausea, constipation and dizziness etc. 2. Muscle Relaxants such as Klonipin, Halcion, Ambien etc. These pills can help you sleep better at night but they do not eliminate the leg sensations. The side effects include daytime drowsiness. 3. Anti Seizure Medications such as Neurontin, Tegretol, Epitol etc. These can be taken to reduce painful daytime symptoms of RLS. The side effects include dizziness and drowsiness. It is important to be aware that no single medication is effective for everyone. In fact the medicine that works for one person may worsen the symptoms in others. Moreover these medicines lose their efficacy with time. It may take several trials for a patient and for the doctor to find the right medicine and correct dosage which is effective in the long term. Restless leg syndrome information Importance of good sleep in Restless Leg Syndrome RLS is so closely associated with sleep disorders that it is sometimes placed in the same category as Insomnia. A good night’s sleep is vitally important for everybody. It recharges a person’s battery and provides energy for all their daily activities. A person suffering from RLS suffers from frequent disruptions of sleep. While trying to sleep the feelings of itching, burning and crawling start growing in the legs and a person is left with no choice but to get up and move about. Although this may provide some temporary relief but the sensations may return as soon as the person is in the bed. The problem of sleep deprivation interferes with the brain’s ability to process information. This slows down the thought process and affects a person’s concentration and ability to learn. This has a profound effect on their efficiency and task performance. In severe cases this condition may result to industrial errors and vehicle crashes. The lack of sleep can also have a negative effect on a person’s mood and behavior. Such individuals are generally found to be easily irritated, volatile, depressed and complaining of reduced libido. One of the important things that a patient of RLS must do is to make sleep a priority in life. It has been observed that a regular sleep pattern can help in reducing disruptions. Retiring to bed at a fixed time, putting in enough hours and then getting up at a regular time is very important in ensuring good night’s sleep. For RLS patients, it may also be advisable to change their sleep cycle so as to get up late in the morning. It will be helpful to maintain a sleep diary, wherein a record of diet, medication, sleep habits and disruptions can be maintained. This dairy can help the doctor in making required changes to help you sleep better. For more detailed information about restless leg syndrome CLICK HERE !