Restless Leg Syndrome and Venous Disease

If you find that you are not able to relax and that each time you try, you experience an overwhelming urge to move your legs then you might have Restless Leg Syndrome. This condition makes you feel like you continuously have to move your legs, even when you are sleeping.  

There were reported symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome in 30% of people who suffer from varicose veins. People who suffer from varicose veins frequently report a feeling of restless legs, particularly at night when in bed. In a study, about 30% of people with varicose veins have experienced nocturnal restless legs.

Restless legs refer to an urge to move the legs. This is different than Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), which is a sensorimotor movement disorder categorized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an urge to move them.  This is a finding based on a collection of nocturnal symptoms. There are several causes of Restless Leg Syndrome such as anemia, neurological disorders, and kidney disease to name a few. These are often treated with medication. Vascular causes such as venous deficiency are frequently overlooked as a cause for Restless Legs Syndrome.

There were case studies of patients who used medication for the treatment of the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome for years without resolution of symptoms. In the study, 98% of the patients with venous deficiency and Restless Leg Syndrome had resolution of symptoms following treatment.  If a patient has symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome and an indication of varicose veins of the legs, a work-up for venous deficiency must be considered. It may eliminate the need for medication for Restless Leg Syndrome in some cases.

Venous Deficiency 

Chronic venous deficiency is a problem with your circulatory system. It happens when your valves begin to malfunction and leak. Valve is the opening and closing mechanisms present through your highway of veins. When this occurs, instead of your blood flowing through your body as it ought to, a portion of it will start to pool in your veins. The pool of blood leads to an increase in blood pressure in your veins. Your veins then grow and pulse, swelling from underneath the layers of your skin. You likely know this condition as varicose veins and spider veins. In addition to the visibly swelling veins on your skin, other symptoms of venous deficiency include:

  • Throbbing
  • Heavy and achy legs 
  • Burning
  • Swollen ankles and feet 
  • Cramps
  • Chronic pain
  • Itching

It is important to get your varicose veins treated for more than just cosmetic reasons. If the condition is left untreated, your varicose veins may turn into open sores that are tough to heal. The condition can cause serious damage to your veins.     

Treating Your Restless Leg Syndrome 

While the cause of Restless Leg Syndrome is not fully understood, we do know that the treatment for varicose veins also has a positive effect on the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome. In a study conducted, it was found that 98% of patients, who received the treatment for their veins, also noticed a fall in their symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.  

Treatments may range from non-invasive to slightly invasive. The level of treatment that you’ll need will depend on your symptoms and how it affects your life.  

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