Restless Leg Syndrome: The Fast Facts

As the leading vascular surgery center in the Kalamazoo area, we have helped countless people regain a complete sense of well-being. We prioritize using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting edge technology to supplement our 60+ years of combined surgical experience. Often times, patients are concerned that they may be facing a host of issues.

Treating vascular and arterial diseases regularly includes diagnosing pain and discomfort people experience in their legs. One of the diseases that is commonly brought up is Restless Leg Syndrome, formally called Willis-Ekbom Disease. Here are the things you need to know about RLS.

Symptoms. RLS causes a strong, unique urge to move your legs paired with uncomfortable sensations. The sensations may vary person to person but are often described as throbbing, itching or crawling. One key component to recognizing the symptoms as RLS is that people experience a symptom-free period of time in the early morning, but symptoms worsen at night.

Causes. Unfortunately, most cases of RLS have unknown causes. Some genetic dispositions, including family history or a gene variant have been connected to RLS. A lot of research points to issues with the section of the brain controlling movement and utilizing dopamine as potential reasons for RLS development.

Diagnosis. Doctors use five criteria during an evaluation to clinically diagnose RLS:

An overwhelming urge to move the legs, often paired with uncomfortable sensations
Urge begins or worsens during periods of rest or inactivity
Urge is partially or wholly relieved by movement
Urge either starts or noticeably worsens later in the day
No other medical or behavioral condition known to cause any of the above four features
Treatment. There are several ways your doctor may treat RLS. They include lifestyle changes, iron supplements, anti-seizure medication, dopaminergic agents, and other prescription medications. Every case is different, and your doctor will develop a unique treatment program based on your case, your medical history, and any other ailments.

While there is no known cure for RLS, the medical field continues to research and advance options for care and treatment. Proper care and a proper diagnosis is the best bet to help people with RLS take control of the disease, and we can help – schedule an appointment today!