Severe restless legs syndrome (RLS)

What is Severe Restless Legs Syndrome?

Severe Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder which causes an overwhelming urge to move one's legs. This sensation often causes an uncomfortable feeling in the legs which can make it hard to sleep or concentrate. Though RLS can affect both men and women, it is much more common among women and those who have a family history of the disorder. Symptoms may get worse during periods of activity and improve when one is at rest.

Causes of Severe RLS

The exact cause of RLS is not known, but there are several factors which can contribute to its development. These include genetics, iron deficiency, kidney problems, certain medications, and other medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Symptoms of Severe RLS

Symptoms of RLS typically include:

  • Uncomfortable sensations in the legs, often described as “creepy-crawly” or itching
  • Tingling or burning sensations in the legs
  • Painful sensations in the legs, particularly when sitting or lying down
  • Uncontrollable urge to move the legs
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating due to the sensations in the legs

Diagnosis of Severe RLS

Diagnosis of RLS usually begins with a physical examination and medical history. The doctor may ask questions about the patient's family history, lifestyle, and any medications they are taking. In some cases, an MRI or other imaging tests may be required in order to rule out any other potential conditions or causes.

Treatment of Severe RLS

Treatment of RLS primarily focuses on managing symptoms. Doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest. Iron supplementation may be helpful in some cases, particularly for those with anemia or iron deficiency. Medications such as dopaminergic drugs or anticonvulsants may be prescribed to help reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of RLS.