A Syndrome That Causes Sleeplessness

A common problem to which doctors do not seem to attach much importance is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). It affects an estimated twelve million Americans. You feel a strange itching and crawling sensation in your legs, just when you are about to fall asleep. You try not to move your legs, thinking that the sensation might go away, but it does not help and, in fact, serves to aggravate the problem further. You feel like you are being tortured; that is how bad the sensation feels. What leads to RLS was at first considered to be a psychological problem, but now researchers at John Hopkins University, in Baltimore, have concluded that it is clearly a biological disorder.

There is some evidence that RLS is caused by a deficiency of chemical

dopa mine in the brain. There is also a possibility that the syndrome might be related to a deficiency of iron in the brain. Such finding makes it all the more important for RLS patients to add iron to their diet or take supplements that can help in most instances.

The National Institute of Health estimates that RLS affects about ten percent of the U. S. population, and becomes more frequent with age. Symptoms of RLS begin at a very early age. It is mild at first, but gradually gets worse over the years. Attacks occur usually at night and delays sleep. It could also occur during the day while sitting, or trying to sit. It is so bad that it could interfere with certain important daily routines.

The problem could continue night after night. Lack of sleep could affect your general health; perhaps, even cause other problems, such as your inability to travel. There is also a tendency to change jobs and retire from work earlier than usual. But there might be a solution to the problem: If your legs continue to feel tingly, itchy, creepy and crawly with RLS, you should see a doctor, or call the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation.

Moving around helps mitigate the severity of the problem to some extent. In mild cases, merely walking, or getting involved in activities, domestic and otherwise, might help to some extent. Stretching and massaging the muscles might relieve or even prevent RLS symptoms. Also, standing with your back to a wall and bending your knees and hips, as if you are sitting on an invisible chair, might prove helpful. A hot bath could provide relief, preferably before going to bed at night. Exercising regularly might help reduce the frequency of RLS attacks. You should abstain from taking alcohol and excessive caffeine before bedtime.

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