The restless legs syndrome is a neurological disorder in which there is an uncontrollable need to stretch and move the legs.
What does it consist of
Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a motor and sensory disorder characterized by a feeling of discomfort or pain in the extremities, usually in the legs.
This unpleasant sensation in the legs causes the affected people to feel the uncontrollable desire to move them. When these people get up and walk, the discomfort and unpleasant sensations disappear.
However, the sensation of pain or discomfort in the legs reappears in repose situations. The symptomatology is usually accentuated in the evening and at night and when lying down or reclining.
The restless legs syndrome can appear at any age and once it does, it usually accentuates over time. It has a high prevalence, affecting between 1 and 5% of the population. And its existence is usually associated with other types of conditions such as anemia or renal failure. Likewise, the taking of certain drugs may favor the appearance of the disorder.
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People with restless legs syndrome have a compulsive need to move their legs. The movement is similar to a nervous tic and can be controlled momentarily, but in the end, they may end up experiencing jerking or involuntary spasms.
The sensation of discomfort in the legs is variable and difficult to define. Some people talk about a burning, but you can also experience a tingling or a feeling of tightness or pressure.
When they experience these unpleasant sensations, the affected subjects initially tend to rub their legs or wet them with cold water. The feeling of discomfort usually persists and is not relieved until the person moves or walks.
In addition, the disorder has a marked circadian rhythm, by which the most accentuated and annoying sensations occur at night, after dinner. It is very common for people with restless legs syndrome to develop other types of sleep disorders, unable to sleep and needing to get up or move their legs repeatedly.
The severity of the symptoms is variable and can range from intermittent pictures of discomfort in the legs to sensations of deep and chronic pain that can lead to serious psychological problems.
Normally, at the time of diagnosing the syndrome of the restless legs, four diagnostic criteria are fundamentally followed:
There is an unstoppable need to move the legs, usually due to feelings of discomfort or discomfort in those extremities.
Symptoms worsen in times of inactivity or after a time spent sitting or lying down.
Annoying sensations disappear when the legs move, however, they return more or less quickly once the movement ends.
The existence of a circadian rhythm, by which symptoms worsen at the end of the day and especially at night.
The simultaneous presence of these four walls is necessary for the diagnosis of the syndrome, however, in some cases, the existence of these may be due to other causes or conditions. For this reason, it is necessary to take into account another series of supporting diagnostic factors and criteria, such as the existence of a family history or the presence of other sleep disorders.
First, it must be determined if the existence of the syndrome is due to other medical conditions. Such as pregnancy or conditions such as iron deficiency. In such situations, the treatment will consist in the first place in controlling such pathologies or situations.
However, in cases in which restless legs syndrome is diagnosed and this is not due to other types of complications, the treatment will be based fundamentally on achieving a change in life habits, and even in the quality of sleep.
When these types of measures are not enough, the treatment can be complemented with certain drugs, among them we find:
Drugs that increase dopamine levels.
Medications that affect calcium channels.
Drugs that help you fall asleep.
In most cases, an appropriate combination of these medications must be achieved to achieve the desired effects.
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