What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Do you have trouble sleeping at night because of strange or unpleasant sensations in your legs? Would you describe these sensations as creeping, pulling, itching, burning, throbbing, or any other uncomfortable feeling? Do your symptoms occur only when relaxing or trying to rest? Do these sensations cause an uncontrollable or overwhelming urge to move your legs to relieve your discomfort? If so, you may be suffering from restless leg syndrome.

Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes an almost irresistible urge to move your legs (or arms). The urge to move occurs when you’re resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensations.

What Causes RLS?

RLS may be hard to describe, but it is not a psychological or emotional condition. Researches are unsure of its exact cause. Current studies are focused on a brain chemical known as dopamine. Medications that increase dopamine in the brain have been effective at relieving RLS symptoms.

Some people have medical conditions that seem to increase the chance of developing RLS. These conditions include the following:

  • Low blood iron levels
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Nerve problems in legs
  • Muscle disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Alcoholism
  • Certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies

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