As many as 10% of Americans have restless legs syndrome (RLS), a chronic condition that causes uncomfortable, irresistible urges to move your legs while you’re trying to rest.

The underlying causes of RLS aren’t well understood, but researchers have found an association between vein diseases and RLS symptoms.

At Vein & Cardiovascular Center, with offices in Orlando, Sebring, and Davenport, Florida, Ashish Pal, MD, and his team help patients relieve RLS symptoms to improve their sleep and vascular health too.

Here’s what Dr. Pal wants you to know about RLS, its symptoms, and the importance of having it treated.

Restless legs syndrome: The basics

Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, restless legs syndrome tends to happen more frequently as you age. And because it happens most often at night, it can take a toll on your ability to get good, restful sleep.

Many people with RLS have idiopathic disease — that is, the cause of their RLS is unknown. For others, RLS is a symptom of an underlying problem, like vein disease. Nerve issues and genetics also play a role in RLS, and some women develop symptoms during pregnancy.

In addition to that irresistible need to move your legs, RLS causes symptoms like:

  • Crawling or creeping sensations
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Aching or throbbing
  • Itching
  • Electric-like shocks
  • Pulling sensations under the skin

As with the urge to move your legs, these symptoms happen when you’re trying to rest.

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

While RLS by itself isn’t necessarily life-threatening, researchers have linked it with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and coronary artery disease. Other data link RLS with an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death.

In short, RLS symptoms may act as a warning signal that enables your provider to identify cardiovascular diseases earlier. This is one more reason having your symptoms evaluated as early as possible is critical for your health and well-being.

Because RLS interferes with rest, lack of quality sleep could also increase your risk of cardiovascular problems. Poor sleep habits have been linked with an array of serious medical issues, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression

Treating RLS symptoms can lead to better sleep habits, which in turn can help reduce your risks of major medical problems.

Treating RLS

You may be able to reduce restless legs syndrome with simple at-home remedies, including:

  • Taking a warm bath before bed
  • Avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon and evening
  • Massaging your legs
  • Being more physically active during the day
  • Using a heating pad or a cold compress

Medications may help with some symptoms of RLS.

When RLS is related to an underlying vein problem, correcting that problem plays an essential role in relieving symptoms and preventing them in the future. Vein treatments also improve circulation for better overall wellness.

Dr. Pal offers several treatment options for diseased veins, including procedures that seal damaged veins so blood is rerouted to neighboring, healthy veins. Performed as outpatient therapies, these treatments use the most advanced technology for optimal results.

Find relief for your RLS symptoms

RLS isn’t just an annoyance and it’s not a natural part of aging. It may indicate you have a vein problem that could increase your risks of cardiovascular diseases and death.

To find out what’s causing your RLS symptoms and to learn more about the treatments we offer, book an appointment online or over the phone today with Dr. Pal and the team at Vein & Cardiovascular Center.

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