Restless legs syndrome symptoms help guide nerves

Restless Legs Syndrome – symptoms, causes& TreatmentBehind the name Restless Legs Syndrome (abbreviated: RLS) is a disease whose main symptoms are restless or restless legs. About 5 to 15 percent of the population is affected, but only a fraction of these actually need treatment. What are the symptoms of the disease, what are the causes and how do doctors treat it??

– Symptoms – Causes – Treatment

Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS sufferers usually experience discomfort (mainly in the legs, sometimes in the arms and chest wall) when they have had
in a quiet position remain. Straight in the evening and night hours, when falling asleep or around prolonged sitting problems occur during car journeys and at the desk. But how exactly does the condition manifest itself? Common symptoms include:

Urge to move: It is considered the leading symptom of this neurological (affecting the nerves) disease. An inner restlessness and the constant need to avoid resting positions are characteristic here. This urge is often intensified by the fact that some symptoms of RLS are briefly improved by movement.
DiscomfortFrom tingling, pulling and itching, to burning or cramping pain – such stimuli occur mainly in one or both legs. In some cases, the arms are also affected. Sleep deprivation and fatigue: Due to the persistent restlessness, many people with RLS find it difficult to relax or to fall asleep or sleep through the night. This can quickly lead to sleep deprivation, which among other things leads to a lack of concentration and performance in everyday life and in the long term weakens the immune system. This makes the organism more susceptible to diseases such as infections. In addition, the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or diabetes increases.

With which Intensity and frequency the problems take shape varies from person to person. In addition, some complaints can selective occur: For example, if there is a strong urge to move, this does not automatically mean that at the same time there are sensations of discomfort in the limbs.

Once the disease breaks out, it usually takes an chronic-progressive course. This means that it progresses very slowly, while the symptoms tend to increase. In addition, it is not uncommon for restless legs syndrome – especially at the beginning of the disease – in spurts is not present, while in the intermediate phases no complaints at all are noticeable.

How dangerous is RLS?

Although restless legs syndrome can have a negative impact on the quality of life, the disease is not really dangerous. Provided there are no other serious, life-shortening conditions, it is quite possible for sufferers to live to a ripe old age.

How Restless Legs Syndrome develops?

Basically, physicians distinguish between the primary (idiopathic) and the secondary (symptomatic) Restless Legs Syndrome. Accordingly, their causes must be considered in a differentiated manner.

Idiopathic Restless Legs Syndrome

The idiopathic form is considered unexplained so far (idiopathy = without recognizable cause). Nevertheless, scientists have found evidence in the past of a connection with disturbances in the metabolism of the brain and the primary manifestation of the disease. Dopamine is apparently a decisive factor. This is an endogenous messenger substance (chemical substance for nervous signal transmission in the organism), which among other things is responsible for the Controlling and steering movements is relevant. complications in the motor. sensory processes of the body quite conceivable. In addition, experts believe that this form of RLS is most likely hereditary and can be traced back to specific genes that trigger restlessness or the urge to move.

Symptomatic Restless Legs Syndrome

The symptomatic causes, on the other hand, are Specific diseases or factors underlying condition, in which Restless Legs Syndrome causes a Accompanying symptom or consequence represents. Diseases include, for example

– dialysis-requiring renal insufficiency (insufficient purification of the blood by the kidneys), – disease of nerve roots (radiculopathy), – under- or overactivity of the thyroid gland, – rheumatic diseases (e.g. arthritis), – metabolic disorders, and – a lack of blood circulation .

Other factors may also be involved during a Pregnancy, with the ingestion of Medication (e.g. antidepressants) or due to Vitamin B12- respectively iron deficiency occur.

For example, iron is involved in a variety of processes in the human body, including the production of dopamine. In the presence of a deficiency, the formation of dopamine in the brain can be impaired, which is why symptoms of RLS often occur. In connection with medications, symptoms usually occur when the drugs have an influence on the metabolic processes of the brain. These include mood-lifting substances that are present in antidepressants.

How to prevent Restless Legs Syndrome?

It is difficult to prevent primary (idiopathic) RLS, because the triggering causes are not clear and cannot be influenced. In the context of the secondary (symptomatic) variant, attention can be paid to a healthy and balanced diet (for example, with fruits, vegetables, high-quality fats, and sufficient fluids) against a background of iron or vitamin B12 deficiency. However, most of the other triggers can hardly be controlled by potential sufferers, which is why concrete prevention is rather impossible here as well.

Restless Legs Syndrome: How does the doctor treat it??

Basically, the primary RLS not be treated causally. Due to the unknown cause, only a reduction of the symptoms can be aimed at. Since in secondary Restless Legs Syndrome there is another underlying disease, it is possible in some cases (for example, iron or vitamin deficiency), to eliminate these as triggers and thus also completely cure the RLS.

In the run-up to the treatment a detailed discussion (anamnesis) takes place, in which the general practitioner collects all relevant information about the Disease progression as well as the intensity and frequency of Complaints recorded. It is also asked whether there is an familial predisposition with the RLS gives. Subsequently, he often refers patients to a specialist (usually a neurologist), who performs physical and neurological examinations and, if necessary, blood tests. These should exclude potential external causes, apart from RLS, and enable an unambiguous diagnosis to be made. The subsequent therapy is based on the individual complaints of the patient and is accordingly either with or without medication executed.

Treatment without medication

Exist about only mild symptoms, which affect the individual's quality of life to a small extent, it is not absolutely necessary to treat with medication. Here, for example

– massages of the restless legs, – alternating showers,

– cold or warm compresses and – stretching exercises with the legs

help. In the following video you can see a few simple exercises for home, which you can use against the complaints of RLS.

Additionally it is useful, factors to be avoided, which may aggravate the Restless Legs Syndrome in certain circumstances. These include for example

– tobacco and – stress. Above all, the measures mentioned here are suitable for weak manifestations of RLS. Provide in many cases for a significant relief of symptoms. However, if the problems increase to the point where this type of treatment is no longer sufficient, drug therapy is used in consultation with the attending physician.

treatment with medication

The administration of preparations finds only in primary Restless Legs Syndrome and are used exclusively in the context of a symptomatic therapy instead of. This means that drugs are used that reduce the symptoms that arise, but do not cure the disease. This is different with secondary variant. In this case, medication is administered – if at all – against the triggering disease and not against the RLS. If the disease heals, the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome also disappear.

For the drug treatment of primary RLS, physicians primarily prescribe so-called dopaminergic substances, which Mimic the functioning of dopamine and thus compensate for any malfunctions in the (dopamine) metabolism of the brain. Suitable for most degrees of severity, the so-called L-dopa This is an active substance that is primarily used as a Needs medication is used. This means that it is only used when necessary and as a preventive measure for longer periods of rest – overnight, for example. The so-called Dopamine agonists (also used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease) are mainly used for the treatment of RLS moderate or severe symptoms prescribed. In addition, they are also used when the problems occur not only at night, but also during the day.

Possible side effects

As a result of the therapy with dopaminergic drugs, a so-called augmentation is possible. This means that the symptoms can increase due to the treatment. If this happens with L-dopa medication, dopamine agonists are often used instead to counteract augmentation. If it still occurs afterwards, doctors usually prescribe opiates (strong painkillers) for the symptoms of RLS.

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