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Restless Legs syndrome (RLS)

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a chronic neurological disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legsIt can also cause uncomfortable sensations in the legs, such as aching, tingling, crawling, pulling, searing, drawing, or bubbling. These sensations usually occur in the calf area, but can also affect the thighs, feet, and sometimes the arms. Symptoms are often most intense at night when resting and can severely disrupt sleep. Moving the legs or walking can temporarily relieve the discomfort, but the sensations often return once movement stops.

RLS is diagnosable by a HCP, but there is no known cure. However, a Physician can help manage the condition to improve symptoms. Some things that may help include:
  • Self-care steps
  • Lifestyle changes, such as developing a daily schedule of exercise and physical activities
  • Medications, such as dopamine agonists like pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole (Requip), and rotigotine (Neupro)
  • Iron supplementation
  • Drinking a 6-ounce glass of tonic water before bed
  • Magnesium supplements are often recommended for restless legs syndrome (RLS) because anecdotal evidence suggests that Magnesium relieves symptomsMagnesium is an essential mineral that helps muscles relax and nerves function. Some researchers believe that magnesium deficiency may contribute to the severity of RLS symptoms. 100 to 200 mg/day

Things to AVOID:

Some things that may worsen RLS symptoms include:
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Medications, including certain drugs used to treat nausea, colds and allergies, and mental health conditions
  • OTC medications that contain first-generation sedating antihistamines (diphenhydramine)
  • Some antidepressants

RLS is very common

More than 3 million US cases per year
Treatment can help, but this condition cannot be cured
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging rarely required
Paddy Kalish OD, JD and B.Arch

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