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Relief from Your Restless Leg Syndrome

One of the first patients I ever treated for venous disease tossed and turned all night for more than two years with restless leg syndrome. After I performed the Closure procedure, she commented to me that she experienced her first night of restful, peaceful sleep in years following the treatment! To me, this was a very strong indicator that restless leg and venous disease can go hand-in-hand, and that to treat one, you must first examine the other.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), which may affect as many as 10 percent of Americans, is a condition characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs that cause an overwhelming urge to move them.

RLS may be linked with how the brain uses dopamine, a chemical that is needed for smooth and conscious muscle movements. Though little is known about the exact cause of restless leg, the condition is most common in middle-aged women, with a propensity to worsen with age.

Throughout my time as a vein and skin physician, I have seen many patients who experience restless leg syndrome concurrently with their venous insufficiency problems.

In fact, nearly one-quarter of people with varicose veins complain of symptoms associated with RLS.

In my experience, varicose veins and chronic vein insufficiency are often to blame for restless leg syndrome. When patients experience vein failure, blood flows back toward the feet and pools into the unhealthy veins, leading to a buildup of metabolic excess and causing the symptoms of RLS.

Although there is currently no test to diagnose the condition, if you answer yes to the following statements, you may be experiencing restless leg syndrome:

  • Uncomfortable, crawly sensations in the legs, especially when sitting or lying down.
  • Frequent occurrence at night or when resting.
  • Interruption of sleep due to discomfort.
  • Movement of legs is the only solution that brings relief from prickly sensations.

Symptoms of restless leg may become more pronounced with the consumption of stimulants, beta-blockers and antidepressants. Being pregnant, withdrawing from medication, anemia, and kidney failure may also lead to RLS.

To reduce discomfort due to RLS, try these simple actions:

  1. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Smoke fewer cigarettes, or stop altogether.
  3. Schedule a bedtime and wake time, and adhere to this schedule everyday—even on weekends.
  4. Take warm baths.
  5. Apply heat or ice to legs to relieve symptoms.
  6. Give yourself massages or find someone who can do it for you.

If symptoms persist, make an appointment with the specialists at Vein & Skin. Diagnosing and treating venous insufficiency is the first step to alleviate the symptoms of RLS.

If you have any concerns about your vein health, call us at 404.508.4320 and make an appointment today. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

-Dr. Fern