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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Definition of Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS is a neurologic condition.  The diagnosis is typically made by talking a thorough history.  Diagnosis is made by reporting the following: An urge to move your legs at night, at rest often associated with an uncomfortable, creepy crawling sensations in the legs (or/and arms). These senstations are temporarily resolved with movements, stretching, walking.  However, they recur after the stretching.

RLS is different from diabetic neuropathy where the leg pain occurs day and night. RLS is strongly associated with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.

Causes of RLS

RLS is considered a neurological and sleep disorder.  It involves a brain chemical called Dopamine. There are compounding factors that can exacerbate RLS such as low blood iron, renal disease, pregnancy and others.  RLS also tends to run in families.   Dr. Gingras will take a thorough history to diagnose and find any cause that can be treated.


Diagnosis of RLS

RLS is diagnosed by history however 80-90% of persons with RLS will have Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep that can further disrupt sleep quality.  Dr. Gingras will take a thorough history and determine if a sleep study is needed.


Treatment of RLS

The treatment of choice is with prescription medications that mimic Dopamine.  Dr. Gingras will determine the most appropriate treatment for you

In addition to medication, Dr. Gingras may recommend lifestyle changes such as avoiding medications that may make RLS worse, such as some antihistamines and most anti-depressants, avoidance of alcohol and caffeine.  Dr. Gingras will check your iron stores, folate and B-12.  She will advise you if vitamin supplements are appropriate for you.  Some people are able to reduce their need for medication after making lifestyle changes.


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