Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that involves abnormal sensation and movement in the legs. People with RLS experience an unpleasant feeling or sensation in their legs when they lie down or when they are sitting still for an extended period of time. Most commonly this occurs when they are getting ready to go to sleep or when they are relaxing after a long day. Most people will feel a strong urge to move, and while moving sometimes makes the symptoms lessen, the need to constantly reposition and move makes rest and sleep challenging. Most people with RLS complain of not getting enough restful sleep.
When you sleep poorly, your daily tasks become more difficult and work productivity is noticeably less efficient. Often times a clear cause for restless legs is not evident which is why it is important to see a doctor and get an accurate diagnosis and then help to manage your symptoms.
While some people who seek treatment do not have any underlying problem, many patients who have varicose veins and RLS often describe improvement or resolution of RLS symptoms following treatment of their varicose veins.
The main symptom of RLS is an irresistible urge to move because of uncomfortable and sometimes painful sensations deep within a part of your body. In the case of venous insufficiency, blood that has already delivered oxygen to the tissues of the legs is inefficiently removed from the legs and causes the muscles and nerves in the leg to begin to react to this. The body makes an effort to move the legs and make the muscles help pump blood back to the heart and lungs where it is meant to be. When the blood is pumped out of the legs the symptoms get better. Most patients will describe RLS symptoms that are worse after a physically active day.
At first, symptoms may be mild and occur intermittently. However, symptoms often get worse with age. People over 50 often describe their symptoms related to this condition as occurring daily and can become a problem and cause a decline in quality of life.
If you experience these symptoms, you need to be seen by a medical professional and have a comprehensive history and physical examination.
If you have symptoms of restless legs, visible varicose veins, swollen legs or discolored skin on your lower legs, you should be evaluated for underlying chronic venous insufficiency. The professionals at Circulatory Centers are well equipped to evaluate you and determine if an underlying treatable cause for your symptoms exists.
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