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Restless Leg Syndrom

July 11, 2024

Unraveling the Mysteries of Restless Leg Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Imagine the frustration of an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations, just as you’re trying to relax or fall asleep. This is the reality for millions of people worldwide who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a complex disorder that can significantly impact quality of life. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the potential causes of RLS, explore common symptoms, and discuss effective treatment options, including the connection between RLS and varicose veins.   Understanding Restless Leg Syndrome Restless Leg Syndrome is a disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, usually accompanied by unpleasant sensations like tingling, aching, or crawling. RLS affects an estimated 10-15% of the U.S. population, with women being more likely to experience symptoms than men. The condition can occur at any age but is most common in middle-aged and older adults. RLS can significantly impact quality of life, causing sleep disturbances, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.   Potential Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome While the exact cause of RLS still being studies, several factors have been identified as potential contributors. Genetic factors play a role, with up to 50% of RLS cases having a family history of the condition. Up to 80% of people who have varicose veins also have Restless Leg Syndrome.     Other causes include iron deficiency anemia have also been linked to RLS, as iron is crucial for proper dopamine function in the brain. Pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester, can trigger RLS symptoms, which often resolve after delivery. Chronic medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, and diabetes may also increase the risk of developing RLS. Certain medications, including antidepressants and antihistamines, have been known to exacerbate RLS symptoms.    The Varicose Vein Connection Recent studies have shown that varicose veins, a common condition characterized by enlarged, twisted veins, may contribute to the development of RLS. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins become weakened or stretched, causing the valve to not close properly.  This allows blood to fall back down and stretch the vein walls causing varicosities.  This impaired circulation can lead to nerve compression, which may trigger the uncomfortable sensations and urge to move associated with RLS.   Dr. David Verebelyi, a leading vein specialist at Colorado Skin & Vein, explains, “Many patients are surprised to learn that their restless legs may be connected to underlying vein issues but 80% of people with venous reflux also have RLS symptoms.  63% of patients who receive treatment for their vein issues have significant or complete relief of their RLS symptoms.”   Several studies support the link between venous insufficiency and RLS. A study published in the journal Phlebology found that patients with RLS had a higher prevalence of varicose veins compared to those without RLS. Another study in the journal Dermatologic Surgery reported that treating varicose veins with sclerotherapy resulted in significant improvement of RLS symptoms.   Diagnosing and Treating Restless Leg Syndrome Diagnosing RLS involves a thorough evaluation of symptoms and medical history. The International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group has established five diagnostic criteria, including an urge to move the legs, onset or worsening of symptoms during rest, relief with movement, and occurrence primarily in the evening or night.   Treatment for RLS often begins with lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, maintaining good sleep hygiene, and avoiding triggers like caffeine and alcohol. Sometimes medications, including dopaminergic agents like ropinirole and pramipexole, and gabapentin, may be prescribed to manage symptoms. However, for patients with RLS and varicose veins, addressing the underlying venous issues can be a critical step in finding relief.  All patients with RLS should rule out venous reflux as the cause.   Dr. Verebelyi notes, “At Colorado Skin & Vein, we take a comprehensive approach to treating RLS, addressing underlying venous issues when present to provide optimal relief for our patients.”   Vein treatments such as sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution to seal off damaged veins, and endovenous ablation, which uses heat to close off damaged veins, have been shown to improve RLS symptoms in the vast majority of patients.  Colorado Skin & Vein offers state-of-the-art vein treatments in a comfortable, spa-like setting, with a focus on personalized care and patient satisfaction. Getting Permanent Relief from RLS Restless Leg Syndrome is a complex condition with multiple potential causes, including genetic factors, vascular issues,  iron deficiency, and underlying medical conditions. The link between RLS and varicose veins is an important consideration in diagnosing and treating this disorder. By identifying and addressing contributing factors like venous insufficiency, patients can find significant relief from the disruptive symptoms of RLS.   Dr. Verebelyi encourages those struggling with restless legs to seek help: “If you’re struggling with restless legs, know that you’re not alone and that effective treatments are available. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or a vein specialist to start your journey towards better sleep and improved quality of life.”   If you suspect that varicose veins may be contributing to your RLS symptoms, consider scheduling a consultation with the experts at Colorado Skin & Vein. Their team of experienced vein specialists can help you develop a personalized treatment plan to address your unique needs and help you find relief from the frustrating symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.


June 14, 2024

Freedom from Restless Legs: A Comprehensive Guide to Treating RLS

Do you struggle to fall asleep at night due to an uncontrollable urge to move your legs? You may be suffering from restless leg syndrome (RLS), a disorder that affects 10% – 15% of the U.S. population. This frustrating condition can significantly impact your quality of life, leaving you exhausted and irritable during the day.   While there is no definitive cure for RLS, there are several effective treatments that can significantly reduce symptoms and help you regain control over your sleep and daily functioning. As a leading vein treatment center, Colorado Skin & Vein has helped countless patients find relief from RLS.   “Many of my patients are surprised to learn that their restless leg symptoms are often connected to underlying vein issues,” says David Verebelyi, MD, RVT who is Chief of Laser Surgery at Colorado Skin & Vein. “By treating venous insufficiency, we’re able to provide significant relief from restless leg.”   Understanding Restless Leg Syndrome Restless leg syndrome is a disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations like tingling, crawling, or aching. These symptoms typically worsen at night and during periods of rest, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.   While the exact cause of RLS is still being studied, several factors can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. The main issue seems to be swelling in the lower limbs but other issues can include iron deficiency, pregnancy, certain medications, and chronic conditions like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. In most cases, RLS is connected to underlying vein problems.   “In my experience, identifying any underlying vascular issues is a crucial first step in developing an effective treatment plan for RLS,” notes Dr. Verebelyi. Venous insufficiency, a condition in which the veins struggle to efficiently return blood to the heart, can contribute to the uncomfortable sensations and urge to move that characterize RLS.   To understand the cause of Restless Leg Syndrome, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, medical history, and family history.  In most cases they will need to perform some basic imaging studies such as ultrasound to check the blood flow in the lower limbs.   In addition they may also order blood tests to check for iron deficiency or other underlying conditions. In some cases, a sleep study may be recommended to evaluate the severity of your symptoms and rule out other sleep disorders.   Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies For mild to moderate cases of RLS, lifestyle modifications and home remedies can be effective in managing symptoms. Establishing good sleep hygiene is crucial – aim for a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is cool, dark, and comfortable.   Regular exercise can also help alleviate RLS symptoms. Activities that maximally active the calf muscles are best.  Cycling, elliptical or swimming tend to be best and  can reduce the intensity and frequency of symptoms. Stretching, especially before bedtime, can also help relax the muscles and ease discomfort.   Certain dietary changes may also be beneficial. Limiting caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening, can improve sleep quality. If you have iron deficiency, increasing your intake of iron-rich foods or taking an iron supplement may help reduce RLS symptoms.   Elevating the lower legs and wearing compression hose may also help.  Some have reported that applying heat or cold to the affected area can also provide relief. Try taking a warm bath before bed, using a heating pad or ice pack, or massaging your legs to alleviate discomfort.     While these lifestyle changes can be effective, it’s important to know when to seek medical help. If your symptoms are severe, persistent, or significantly impacting your daily life, it’s time to consult with a doctor.   Medical Treatment Options For cases where RLS exists with potential venous reflux, medical intervention may be necessary. Treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause of your symptoms.  63% of patients with RLS and venous reflux got either complete or significant relief of their RLS symptoms after their venous reflux was properly treated.  As noted above, for many RLS sufferers, treating underlying venous insufficiency can provide significant relief. At Colorado Skin & Vein, we offer several minimally invasive treatments to address vein issues:   Radiofrequency ablation: This procedure uses heat to close off damaged veins, redirecting blood flow to healthier veins. Endovenous laser treatment: Similar to radiofrequency ablation, this treatment uses laser energy to seal off problematic veins. Sclerotherapy: This involves injecting a solution into the damaged vein, causing it to collapse and fade away.   “In many cases, a combination of lifestyle modifications and medical interventions can make a world of difference for RLS sufferers,” says Dr. Verebelyi. “The key is working closely with your doctor to find the right treatment plan for you.”   After undergoing treatment, ongoing care and follow-up appointments are important to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed.   Overcoming Restless Leg Syndrome Living with restless leg syndrome can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. With the right combination of lifestyle changes, medical treatment, and support, most people with RLS are able to significantly reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life.   If you think you may be suffering from RLS, the expert providers at Colorado Skin & Vein are here to help. As a national leader in vein treatment and aesthetic medicine, we have the knowledge and experience to accurately diagnose your condition and recommend the most effective therapies. Don’t let restless leg syndrome control your life any longer. Schedule your consultation and take the first step towards restful, symptom-free nights. A better night’s sleep is within reach – contact us today to get started.


June 21, 2022

Causes Of Restless Leg Syndrome

If you’re familiar with restless leg syndrome, you know just how frustrating – and painful – it can be. Restless leg syndrome doesn’t just impact your legs either; it impacts your ability to fall and stay asleep, which can have detrimental effects on you and your life. But what exactly causes restless leg syndrome? Below, we’ll go over what restless leg syndrome is, what causes restless leg syndrome, what the symptoms of restless leg syndrome are, and restless leg syndrome treatment. What is Restless Leg Syndrome? Restless leg syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, is a nervous system disorder that causes you to experience an intense and uncontrollable urge to move your legs. It usually happens when you’re sleeping or sitting or lying down for an extended period of time. Restless leg syndrome usually happens before bed and can prevent you from falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting quality rest, which has led doctors to classify it as a sleep disorder as well. People who have restless leg syndrome also typically suffer from varicose veins, which are enlarged blood vessels that cause veins in the legs to swell and are often painful. What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome? The cause of restless leg syndrome isn’t always known, however, there are a few known causes and triggers. 1. Genetics: Restless leg syndrome can run in your family, and this is often believed to be the cause if symptoms present themselves before the age of 40. Scientists have found a chromosome that has specific sites where restless leg syndrome genes can present themselves as well. 2. Dopamine dysregulation: Scientists have also found that restless leg syndrome is related to the area of the brain called the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia controls movement and muscle function with the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine helps your nervous system regulate and control movement by communicating between the brain and nervous system. If nerve cells in your brain have sustained damage, the amount of dopamine present in your brain becomes reduced, which results in involuntary movement and muscle spasms. Dopamine levels naturally taper off at the end of the day, and this is why it’s believed that restless leg syndrome symptoms are worse at night. 3. Iron deficiency: It’s not entirely clear how iron deficiency or anemia plays a part in restless leg syndrome, but there is a connection between the two. Iron deficiency affects other areas of the brain, and it’s believed that this could impact dopamine regulation. 4. Chronic diseases: Some chronic and long-term diseases include restless leg syndrome as a symptom. These include Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure/renal disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage). 5. Pregnancy: The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, can trigger the onset of restless leg syndrome or make existing restless leg syndrome worse. Pregnancy-related restless leg syndrome typically goes away following the pregnancy. 6. Medications: Some medicines can make symptoms worse or trigger restless leg syndrome while in use. These include antipsychotics, some antidepressants, cold and allergy meds that contain antihistamines, and anti-nausea meds. 7. Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle factors are restless leg syndrome causes. A lack of sleep, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, being overweight, chronic stress, excessive alcohol and/or caffeine consumption, and smoking are all linked to restless leg syndrome. What are Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms? There are five basic criteria and symptoms that must be present to diagnose restless leg syndrome. They are: An uncontrollable and overwhelming urge to move your legs that feels painful or uncomfortable The urge to move starts or gets worse during times of rest The urge to move starts or gets worse at nighttime The urge dissipates with movement There’s no other cause of the urge to move, such as leg cramps, muscle spasms, or arthritis What Are Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment Options? Unfortunately, there is no cure for restless leg syndrome but, there are treatment options that can help you manage symptoms. The restless leg syndrome treatments include: Getting regular exercise Following a sleep schedule Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and smoking Leg massages Hot baths Heating and ice packs Dopaminergic drugs Benzodiazepines Magnesium supplements Anti-seizure meds Narcotic pain relievers Restless leg syndrome is a lifelong disease that can be difficult to live with. Working with your doctor to understand what might cause or trigger your restless leg syndrome is the best way to manage your symptoms. To learn more about restless leg syndrome or to seek treatment for varicose veins that might be making your restless leg syndrome worse, contact us today!

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