Is Restless Leg Syndrome Serious?

Is Restless Leg Syndrome Serious?

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a type of sleep disorder. It generates a compulsive urge to move your legs (or other body parts) along with other uncomfortable physical sensations, such as pulling, tugging, itching, aching, burning, or crawling.

Unfortunately, RLS tends to be most severe in the evening, when you’re either lying in bed or sitting for long periods, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or feel refreshed in the morning.

At Dallas Vein Institute and Texas Vascular Institute, board-certified interventional radiologist Dr. Dev Batra diagnoses and treats restless leg syndrome in Dallas and Hurst, Texas. He understands how uncomfortable — and downright annoying — the condition can be, and he provides effective treatment so you can get a good night’s sleep.

What causes RLS?

There appears to be a strong correlation between genetics and RLS. Up to 92% of RLS patients have a first-degree relative with the syndrome, and this group tends to develop symptoms at a younger age than those without the genetic link.

Several medical conditions have been associated with RLS, including:

In addition, many medications and substances, including antidepressants, allergy drugs, anti-nausea medications, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, can contribute to RLS development or make the symptoms worse.

Some studies indicate that many people with vein disease also develop restless leg syndrome, and they can be successfully treated with therapies designed for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). That isn’t that surprising, given that vein disease irritates the muscles and other soft tissues in your legs, creating uncomfortable sensations.

Is restless leg syndrome serious?

In and of itself, RLS isn’t serious. However, since it leads to inadequate sleep, it has wide-ranging repercussions.

Sleep deprivation describes a state caused by inadequate quantity or quality of sleep, including involuntary sleeplessness resulting from sleep disorders like RLS. Insufficient sleep has consequences on how we function during the day, causing sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and trouble remembering.

More than that, though, a sleepy person is more accident-prone, judgment-impaired, and likely to make bad decisions than their well-rested counterparts. A period of 24 hours without sleep leads to an impairment of hand-to-eye coordination similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1. That’s why, if you’re dealing with sleep disturbances due to RLS, it’s essential to get the underlying condition treated.

Treatment options for restless legs syndrome

When you come in for an evaluation, in addition to taking a complete medical history and making note of all your symptoms, Dr. Batra examines your legs for signs of vein disease. He looks for signs of chronic venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or other vascular health issues.

After a diagnosis, Dr. Batra always starts with conservative, non-drug treatments, especially if you have mild symptoms. These include:

If you have low iron levels, an iron supplement may also be a good choice.

Treatment for vein disease, if you have it, may also have a positive effect on RLS symptoms. A National Sleep Foundation study found that 98% of people who received treatment for vein problems also experienced a decrease in their RLS symptoms.

At Dallas Vein Institute and Texas Vascular Institute, we recommend:

Dr. Batra customizes treatment to your individual needs.

If your restless legs leave you not getting adequate sleep, it’s time to come to Dallas Vein Institute and Texas Vascular Institute for proper diagnosis and treatment. Give the office a call at either of our locations or book your appointment online today.

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