Restless Leg Syndrome: April 2006

8:16 AM

What causes restless leg syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome or shortly RLS, is a health condition in which legs feel very uncomfortable while sitting or lying down, especially at night. Usually it makes one feel like getting up and moving around. When doing so, the unpleasant feeling of restless legs syndrome might go away, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Restless leg syndrome affects both, men and women and can begin when you're young or as you get older. Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep thus leading to daytime drowsiness.

So, what causes restless leg syndrome?

Nobody actually knows the real cause for restless leg syndrome. Some research has been done and the researchers suspect it might be due to an imbalance of the brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends messages to control muscle movement.

It has also been noticed that restless leg syndrome runs in families and that stress tends to make things even worse. If there is any changes in hormonal balance, that may worsen restless leg syndrome symptoms. Also, some women experience restless leg syndrome during their pregnancy and it dissapears soon after the delivery.

However, restless leg syndrome is not related to some serious medical problems, but sometimes it accompanies other conditions and some of them are peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy damages the nerves in hands and feet and sometimes it is due to chronic diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism. Also, iron deficiency might cause restless leg syndrome, it might cause or worsen restless legs syndrome.

Researchers assume that kidney failure might be the cause too, at least to some degree. This is when the kidney does not function properly, iron stores in blood can decrease and cause some of the rls symptoms. All these and some other changes in body chemistry may cause or worsen restless leg syndrome.

Some other, known causes of restless leg syndrome include muscle overexertion, prolonged sitting, dehydration, decreased potassium levels, neuromuscular disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, certain medications, such as albuterol, niacin, diuretics, and some calcium channel blockers and antipsychotic medications, also alcohol use.

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Restless Leg Syndrome