Common Questions About Restless Legs

Who’s Most Likely To Get Restless Legs?

About 10% of the population might be affected, and about 2%-3% have moderate to severe symptoms of Restless Legs which may affect the quality of their life. Most people do know that:

  • Most people with severe disease are middle-aged or older.
  • Women are affected slightly more often than men.
  • Those with affected family members usually get the condition at a younger age, but it develops more slowly.

Do Restless Legs Ever Go Away by Itself?

There are reported cases of impulsive remissions of Restless Legs, but they are rare. This type of condition is progressive for most people especially the symptoms are getting worse over time.

For those people with Restless Legs that are caused by a medical condition, treatment of that condition can relieve or improve their Restless Legs.

Can Restless Legs Syndrome Progress Into Something More Severe?

Most people with Restless Legs have the idiopathic type. Accordingly, there is no risk of the condition progressing to more severe conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Restless Legs could also be caused by medical conditions. If left untreated, these medical conditions may cause serious health problems as well as worsen the symptoms of Restless Legs.

How to Have a Good Night’s Sleep Despite Restless Legs?

Experts come to an agreement that simply changing behavior may often help you sleep better with Restless Legs. For those with mild to moderate Restless Legs, these steps can lessen or prevent symptoms:

  • Apply ice or heat, or soak in a hot bath
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Maintain a regular sleep pattern
  • Stop smoking, or at least cutback
  • Exercise regularly, but moderately

When to Consider Seeing a Doctor About Restless Legs?

No one should live with major uneasiness without discussing their symptoms of Restless Legs with a doctor. Even if you feel your symptoms are mild, they could be serious which affects your sleep.

Only you can decide when your Restless Legs are affecting your life. If you have the symptoms of the condition, consider if you’re also:

  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Losing sleep recurrently

If any of these are present or if you just want to feel better, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

Are There any Treatments for Restless Legs?

There are some FDA-approved medications for Restless Legs:

  • Rotigotine (Neupro)
  • Pramipexole (Mirapex)
  • gabapentin Enacarbil (Horizant)
  • Ropinirole (Requip)

These medications are already proven effective in clinical trials in decreasing the symptoms of Restless Legs.

Doctors also use other medications not exactly for the treatment of Restless Legs. These may include:

  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Tramadol
  • Hydrocodone
  • Zolpidem
  • Clonazepam

What To Do To Cope With Restless Legs?

Anxiety and depression usually result from Restless Legs. If you have moderate to severe symptoms, it is significant to find ways to cope with the stress it may cause. Here are a few ways to take control:

  • If you feel overwhelmed by your condition, talk with a professional mental health provider.
  • You may work with your doctor. Changes or combinations of medications are usually needed to control the symptoms.

What Is the Connection Between Iron and Restless Legs?

Lack of iron is one of the rare causes of Restless Legs. Substituting the low iron could improve or reduce symptoms in people with the condition.

Even for people whose Restless Legs have no clear cause and who have normal iron levels, iron is possibly involved. Studies show a brain iron deficiency in lots of people with Restless Legs. Research is ongoing to discover how and why this occurs, and whether therapy can be targeted to this problem. People with normal iron levels and Restless Legs must not take iron pills. Too much iron may cause liver damage and other problems.

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