Restless Legs Syndrome FAQs | RLS | Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome - FAQ’s

Is Restless Legs Syndrome serious?

The symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome can range anywhere from troublesome to unbearable.

Fluctuations in severity are common, and rarely the symptoms may disappear for periods of time.

Anxiety as bedtime approaches; glumness and depression, frustration with nighttime awakenings, difficulty concentrating and excessive daytime sleepiness have all been reported in association with the disorder.

Restless Legs Syndrome also can affect family, marital, and social relations as well as having a poor effect on school, work or other activities. Another consequence can be increased drowsiness while driving or great difficulty performing overnight shift work.

Who Is At Risk for Restless Legs Syndrome?

Various, large scale study have revealed that adults of all ages may be affected by RLS but the occurrence increases with age. But many people with RLS diagnosed before the age of 20 years. Patients report that their symptoms worsen progressively with age.

RLS affects both men and women. But the disorder is slightly more common in women than in men. Patients may experience increasing daytime tiredness as symptoms get worse and sleep becomes more uneven often due to PLMD. RLS is common in pregnant women. It can affect people of any ethnic group.

What are the Drugs and Substances that can cause Restless Legs Syndrome?

The use of certain prescription or over-the-counter medications may cause or worsen restless legs syndrome. Therefore, before suggesting or prescribing any specific treatments, physicians may ask for detailed information about the patient's current routine of medications.

Certain substances can cause RLS symptoms or make them worse. These substances include tobacco, alcohol, antidepressants and caffeine. Some cold and allergy medicines and some drugs and substances can cause ‘Restless Legs Syndrome’. The different groups of drugs include antidepressants, antiseizure medicines, some cold and allergy medicines and antinausea medicines

Medications that may cause or aggravate the symptoms include many antinausea drugs, such as Reglan or Compazine; certain medications that are administered to help avoid or control seizures, such as phenytoin; droperidol; particular antipsychotic drugs that produce tranquilizing effects, such as phenothiazine derivatives and haloperidol.

In some rare instances individuals who took certain drugs to treat depression (e.g., tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]) experienced some improvement in RLS symptoms; however, for the most part, such medications typically aggravate the symptoms of RLS.

Can taking vitamins or mineral supplements help in controlling RLS symptoms?

If there is iron or vitamin deficiency, it can cause restless leg syndrome. RLS symptoms can be reduced with the intake of iron, vitamin B or folate supplements. But, using moderate amounts of minerals (potassium, calcium, iron or magnesium) can impair the body’s ability to use other minerals or can cause toxicity. Therefore, mineral supplements should be used on the advice of the physician.



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