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Neurology

Restless Leg Syndrome Can Affect All Ages

Restless Leg Syndrome Can Affect All Ages
“Because RLS affects one’s ability to fall asleep and therefore impacts quality of life, Dr. Bond recommends seeing a doctor as soon as you experience symptoms of RLS.”

For people living with restless leg syndrome (RLS), a relaxing evening or a good night’s sleep can be elusive.

“The most common complaint from people is an unpleasant sensation in the legs—a throbbing, pulling or creeping,” explains Wendy Bond, M.D., neurologist. “Patients with RLS experience an overwhelming desire to move their legs. These symptoms typically occur at night, when the patient is trying to relax and watch TV or fall asleep. The condition makes falling asleep and travel—especially long plane or car rides—difficult.”

Dr. Bond says RLS can affect people of all ages and can begin at any time, though the exact cause is unknown. “There are chronic diseases and underlying medical problems—like diabetes, neuropathy or iron deficiency—that can cause RLS,” Dr. Bond says. “Some women experience RLS during the third trimester of pregnancy, but it usually goes away after delivery. For others who experience RLS, it doesn’t go away and it tends to get worse as they age.”

If RLS is the result of other conditions, Dr. Bond says treating the underlying condition often provides relief. If an underlying condition is not present, correcting an iron deficiency is the first step of treatment. “If replacing iron, folic acid or magnesium doesn’t help, then there are other medications—including medications for Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy, seizures or pain medications—that may reduce RLS,” she says.

Because RLS affects one’s ability to fall asleep and therefore impacts quality of life, Dr. Bond recommends seeing a doctor as soon as you experience symptoms of RLS.

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Did You Know?

The International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group established four criteria one must meet to be diagnosed with RLS, including:

  • You have a strong, often irresistible urge to move your legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. These sensations are typically described as crawling, creeping, cramping, tingling, pulling, tugging or itching.
  • 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, for as long as you keep moving.
  • Your symptoms are worse at night.

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Wendy Bond, M.D.
Neurology
Orthopedic Center of Florida
12670 Creekside Lane
Fort Myers, FL 33919
239-482-2663

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