Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) affects roughly 10-15% of Americans. An estimated 1 million children suffer from it, although it occurs more often in middle-aged and elderly adults and worsens as one grows older. It is twice as common in women. At Five Clinics, we offer screenings and treatments that can improve the quality of life for RLS sufferers.
What is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?
Restless legs syndrome is typically considered a nervous system disorder. Low iron levels in the brain are sometimes associated with the condition. Family histories reveal that genes may play a role, too. Damaged veins in the legs have also been linked to the disorder. The primary characteristic of RLS is an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, which is frequently triggered by uncomfortable sensations. Since these symptoms tend to intensify at night, RLS can also be considered a sleep disorder. The resulting sleep deprivation may lead to impaired memory and poor concentration.
The 5 Signs of RLS
To diagnose RLS, a physician will consider several criteria.
- Underlying Conditions and Lifestyle Factors. Certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, have activated or intensified symptoms. There is also a relationship between RLS and pregnancy. Some patients report that they get relief when they decrease or eliminate alcohol or tobacco consumption. Improving sleep habits may prove helpful. Medications that increase serotonin or contain antihistamines (such as antidepressants and cold medicines) have also been linked to RLS.
- An Irresistible Urge to Move the Legs That is Usually Triggered by Uncomfortable Sensations. Patients often report tingling, itching, tugging, gnawing, or creeping sensations. These can be caused by Chronic Venous Insufficiency, or CVI, which can cause varicose veins, as blood is reverted through malfunctioning vein valves. About 80% of patients report Repetitive Limb Movements in Sleep (RLMS), which frequently occur throughout the night.
- Relief That Comes from Movement. RLS sufferers alleviate their symptoms by moving the affected limbs. Activities such as stretching or walking bring relief for the duration that they are performed.
- An Increase of Symptoms When at Rest. Sensations and movements intensify when a person is trying to sleep or relax. Sedentary activities aggravate symptoms; lying down can cause even more discomfort.
- Heightening of Symptoms in The Evening. Patients often experience symptoms as the day becomes evening and night. RLS can disrupt sleep by causing frequent awakenings.
Five Clinics Can Help
At Five Clinics, we offer vein screenings for the legs, where we can determine whether venous insufficiency is causing our patients’ RLS. We provide treatment for varicose veins. Endovenous laser treatment (ablation) allows patients to resume their normal routine immediately with little or no pain. Sclerotherapy is an ultrasound-guided procedure that locates damaged veins deep within the leg to correct blood flow to the varicose veins they are connected to closer to the surface. In ambulatory phlebectomy, large sections of veins are removed near the skin’s surface. When this minor surgery is performed, patients can resume daily activities within a day or two. These treatments prove promising for RLS patients with CVI, since CVI may result in varicose veins. Research shows that 98% of patients who received treatment for CVI experienced relief. For 80% of them, the improvement was long-term.
Additionally, we treat spider veins, deep vein thrombosis, and leg ulcers or swelling. You can contact us here, or call 614-956-5000 to set up an appointment, request a free screening, or learn more about our services.