People with restless legs syndrome (RLS) have unpleasant sensations in the legs when sitting, lying down or trying to sleep. The exact cause of RLS is not known but some of the risk factors of RLS include:
- Studies have shown that RLS runs in families in about 50% the people with RLS. This specifically applies when the condition starts at an early age. You are at higher risk of RLS if you have a family history of RLS.
- Psychiatric factors, stress, and fatigue can worsen symptoms of RLS.
- Iron-deficiency anaemia and peripheral neuropathy are two common condition that cause secondary RLS.
- About 40% of pregnant women develop symptoms of RLS.
- People with kidney failure can develop RSL due to iron deficiency anaemia or build-up of toxins in the body (uraemia).
- Several medications may cause symptoms of RLS. These include anticonvulsant drugs (e.g., methsuximide, phenytoin), antidepressant drugs (e.g., amitriptyline, paroxetine), beta-blockers, H2 blockers, lithium, and neuroleptics (antipsychotics).
If you have symptoms of restless legs syndrome, do not ignore it. Proper diagnosis and current therapies for RLS can improve the symptoms and increase periods of restful sleep. Consult a doctor if you have symptoms suggestive of RLS.
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