Restless Legs Syndrome:
a neurological condition characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs or other muscles in order to relieve unpleasant sensations that develop during rest. RLS involves an uncontrollable urge to move the legs or other muscles because they feel extremely uncomfortable. People with RLS have difficulty falling or staying asleep because of their symptoms.


Features 

  RLS sufferers have used words like creepy, crawly, tingling, burning, tugging, pulling, and even painful to characterize their discomfort.  RLS disrupts sleep. Symptoms arise at night or during periods of rest. As soon as activity ceases, RLS sensations begin, along with the irresistible urge to move. Although movement provides immediate relief, it will only last as long as the activity continues. It may be difficult for someone with RLS to remain still at all. As the name implies, RLS affects the legs but may be felt in the arms or even torso.
    A related problem involves involuntary muscle tightening or flexing. When they are strong enough, these movements are called Periodic Limb Movements (PLMS). During wakefulness, the condition is known as Periodic Limb Movements of Wakefulness. During sleep, it is called Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep. The majority of people with RLS also have some form of PLMS.
      Restless Legs Syndrome may be primary (not related to any other condition) or secondary to another medical problem. Primary RLS may be mild or severe, chronic or intermittent. Secondary RLS tends to resolve itself when the underlying medical problem are treated or resolved.


Diagnosis 

     Mild RLS may not require medical intervention. When symptoms prevent sleep or other activities, consider seeing a sleep specialist. Keeping a sleep log of your sleep habits will demonstrate how RLS discomfort affects your life and speed up the diagnostic process. If necessary, an overnight sleep study at an accredited sleep lab will assess how your arms and legs move. It will also record brainwaves, heart rate, and additional muscular movements, which may be helpful if another sleep disorder is suspected.


Treatment 

  Depending on the severity of your symptoms, RLS may be treated with behavioral modifications and possibly medication.

Behavioral Modifications: regular exercise such as walking or swimming may reduce or eliminate RLS symptoms.  Massaging the legs and soaking in a hot tub prior to bedtime may help.

Medications:
Several medications are available to treat RLS:

Dopamine Replacement: drugs that reduce muscular movement by replacing a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. They include: Pramipexole (Mirapex), Ropinerole (Requip), and a combination of Carbidopa/Levidopa (Sinimet).

Opiods: Narcotic  medications, which induce sleep but which can also be addictive. They include: codeine, the combination of oxycodone/ acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet), and the combination of  hydrocodone/ acetaminophen (Lortab, Vicoden).

Benzodiazepines: muscle relaxants and sleep medications, which may improve sleep but do not eliminate leg sensations. They include: Clonazepam (Klonipin), Eszopiclone (Lunesta), Ramelteon (Rozerem), Temazepam (Restoril), Zaleplon (Sonata) and Zolpidem (Ambien).

Anti-epileptics: drugs used in the treatment of epilepsy, which may relax muscles as well as promote sleep. They include: Gabapentin (Neurontin).


RLS Mechanics

       Restless Legs Syndrome can develop for a number of reasons. It is often associated with the faulty use or a lack of iron in the brain. Iron is very important for the brain because it is used to manufacture the chemical dopamine, as well as to control other brain activities. Dopamine works in the part of the brain that controls movement. The medical conditions listed above can affect how much iron is in the brain, or how the brain uses it.

Suggested Downlaods

SleepIssues:Can’t Sleep
SleepCaptions:Restless Legs Syndrome