After a hard day we often wish for nothing more than some rest, the possibility to put the feet up and to relax. For people suffering under RLS this is almost impossible. Especially during the evening when people concerned sit or lay down their feet start itching, burning and aching. The only remedy is getting up, movement, tension or stretching of the muscles concerned. Even during sleep, periodical movements of the feet are possible. This is leading to sleep interruptions and therefore a restful sleep becomes impossible. Due to the arising lack of sleep people suffering under RLS often are exhausted, tired and suffer under diminished performance and a weak immune-system.
Who is concerned?
About 10 % of the total population suffer under RLS. People older than 65 are more often concerned. Furthermore, there is a chronic-progressive progression of the disease. That means, the complaints increase in advancing age. 10 to 20 % of people concerned already have symptoms in childhood or adolescence. Also, 20 % of pregnant women are concerned.
Causes of RLS
A distinction is made between idiopathic and symptomatic RLS. When talking about primary or idiopathic RLS it is assumed that the transfer of signals from the brain is disturbed, especially via the neurotransmitter dopamine. This neurotransmitter is influencing the coordination of movements.
There are several responsible causes for symptomatic RLS. Some of them are kidney diseases, rheumatics, iron deficiency, the intake of certain medications like neuroleptics, anti-depressants or a metabolic disorder. About 40 to 50 % inherited RLS. Therefore it is rather common that several family members suffer under RLS.
Treatment of RLS
When suffering under symptomatic RLS the treatment is a removal of the causes. The therapy of primary RLS is the intake of medications containing therapeutic substances from the Parkinson’s-therapy. Thus, it is attempted to balance the dopamine deficit in the brain. Besides the medication intake other things might contribute in keeping the quality of life. Here, soft massages, infusions and contrast baths as well as elimination of certain foods might ease the symptoms. Furthermore, sufficient movement in fresh air combined with an appropriate sleep hygiene is important for a healthy, restful sleep.
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