Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, is a disorder of the part of the nervous system that affects movements of the legs. It is also considered a sleep disorder due to the discomfort interfering with sleep. An important not is that RLS does not cause serious health issues, but since it does interfere with sleep, severe fatigue can be a major issue.
While difficult to describe or even understand the symptoms of RLS can consist of aching of the legs, creepy/crawling feeling or prickly sensations when trying to relax. It is estimated that between 5 and 15% of adults have RLS as well as 19% of women may develop some RLS symptoms during their pregnancy.
Before a diagnosis of Restless Leg Syndrome can be made, a doctor will ask questions about symptoms and look for other possible reasons for the discomfort. Other than explaining the uncomfortable sensations in the legs when resting or during inactivity, a family history of RLS may be examined, noting any involuntary movement of legs while awake or sleep, or if there is an improvement noted with the use of medication. In more difficult to diagnoses cases, a sleep study may be done to help diagnose the severity of RLS and how it is affecting the everyday life or the individual.
There can be difficulty in diagnosing RLS for several reasons. The most common may be that people do not visit the doctor when they are having symptoms, or if they do the appointment will be during the day when symptoms are mild or non-existent. Unfortunately, RLS is often times misdiagnosed as insomnia, stress, muscle cramps or arthritis.
When it comes to children and Restless Leg Syndrome, the diagnosis takes on a new challenge. Children can not always explain the feelings they are having in their legs and will be misdiagnosed just as adults. What is important when having children checked for possible RLS, is have a family history available, monitor when the child complains of pain or discomfort in the legs. This information will go a long way in helping the doctor make the correct diagnosis.
It is true diagnosis is most important, after that treatment becomes the focus. Treatments, however, are as varied as they people seeking them. There are medications available that have been approved for people with RLS, two of the top medications are Requip and Mirapex. In addition, there are many home remedies, alternative medicine practices and natural ways to relieve the symptoms and discomfort that are part of RLS.
It is important, as with most health issues, to check with your doctor as to what the best treatment will be for you or your child. Whether using medication or other relief plans be sure they are safe and are right for you. Using plans that were specified for others as a way to avoid seeing a doctor may cause more problems. Check with your doctor and talk with him about your symptoms. Then work with him on a plan for your RLS and comfort.