Restless legs syndrome
A diagnosis of RLS is based on the following criteria:-
You have a strong, often irresistible urge to move your legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations typically described as crawling, creeping, cramping, tingling or pulling.
Your symptoms start or get worse when you're resting, such as sitting or lying down.
Your symptoms are partially or temporarily relieved by activity, such as walking or stretching.
Your symptoms are worse at night.
Symptoms can't be explained solely by another medical or behavioral condition.
Your doctor may conduct a physical and a neurological exam. Blood tests, particularly for iron deficiency, may be ordered to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms.
Sometimes, treating an underlying condition, such as iron deficiency, greatly relieves symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Correcting an iron deficiency may involve receiving iron supplement. However, take iron supplements only with medical supervision and after your doctor has checked your blood-iron level.
If you have RLS today without an associated condition, treatment focuses on lifestyle changes. If those aren't effective, your doctor might prescribe medications.
Several prescription medications, most of which were developed to treat other diseases, are available to reduce the restlessness in your legs these are :-
Short-term side effects of these medications are usually mild and include nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue. However, they can also cause impulse control disorders, and daytime sleepiness.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Making simple lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms of RLS:-
Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.
Apply warm or cool packs. Use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, may lessen your limb sensations.
Establish good sleep hygiene. Fatigue tends to worsen symptoms of RLS, so it's important that you practice good sleep hygiene. Ideally, have a cool, quiet, comfortable sleeping environment; go to bed and rise at the same time daily; and get adequate sleep.
Getting moderate, regular exercise may relieve symptoms of RLS but overdoing it or working out too late in the day may intensify symptoms.
Sometimes cutting back on caffeine may help restless legs. Try to avoid caffeine-containing products, including chocolate and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, for a few weeks to see if this helps.
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