Research shows that one in ten American adults often feel an unpleasant and uncontrollable urge to move their legs, but most simply disregard it. However, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, our resident Dulles neurology specialist warns that Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), aka Willis-Ekbom disease, is not something that should be taken lightly. Learn the truth about this condition and what you can do about it.
A Closer Look at Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome is more than just a random impulse to move your legs. It is a neurological sensorimotor disorder rooted in the brain. Here are more facts on this common condition:
• Walking or moving the legs can relieve RLS, but the discomfort quickly recurs once you stop moving.
• It can affect anyone at any age, but it’s twice as likely to affect women than men.
• Restless Leg Syndrome is more prevalent during middle age.
• While RLS occurs mainly in the legs, it’s possible to experience symptoms in the face, torso, arms, and the genital region.
• Pregnancy can trigger Restless Leg Syndrome, especially in the last three months of the pregnancy.
• Symptoms of RLS are most active during late afternoon and evenings.
• Left untreated, RLS symptoms often last longer and become more frequent with age.
If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from RLS, you should see a neurologist in Leesburg, VA as soon as you can. Left untreated, Restless Leg Syndrome can be disabling and dramatically lower your quality of life since it’s also classified as a sleep disorder.
Restless Leg Syndrome as a Sleep Disorder
Aside from being a neurological disorder, RLS is also considered a sleep disorder. Because RLS is triggered by prolonged periods of inactivity, it’s typically most severe during the night when you’re resting and attempting to sleep. Patients find it very difficult to fall asleep or return to sleeping after waking up to move their legs.
As a sleep disorder, Restless Leg Syndrome usually leads to daytime sleepiness and exhaustion. It negatively impacts mood, memory, focus, personal relationships, and performance at work and in school.
A lot of people with RLS report failing to accomplish tasks, having impaired memory, and finding it impossible to concentrate. Untreated RLS has been found to cause up to 20% reduction in work productivity. It makes it hard to travel, and can eventually lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
How to Determine if You Have Restless Leg Syndrome
You might have RLS if you experience one or more of these symptoms:
• Crawling, tingling, or itching sensations in the legs
• An unstoppable urge to move your limbs after feeling these sensations
• Restlessness such as tossing and turning in bed, floor pacing, and rubbing your legs
• Sleep issues
• Involuntary jerking, repetitive, and periodic limb movement at rest and while awake
For a final diagnosis and to rule out other possible causes, your neurologist in Leesburg may order tests like labs, brain imaging, and sleep studies. He will also conduct a thorough neurologic examination and take a detailed medical history to confirm RLS.
What Happens When You’re Diagnosed with RLS
At present, there is no known cure for Restless Leg Syndrome. However, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai can help you come up with a treatment plan that will help control RLS symptoms so they don’t interfere with your quality of life. He can help you define your triggers, enact lifestyle changes, and prescribe medications to manage the condition.
If you suspect you have RLS, call Neurology Associates today at 726-6393 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dulai.