RLS and the Elderly

When studies were done on the causes and treatments of restless leg syndrome, the result was the disorder is more prevalent in the elderly. A study at the Department of Geriatrics in England ran a test involving 36 patients diagnosed with RLS symptoms.

Restless leg syndrome seems to be more prevalent in the elderly. The Department of Geriatrics at Liverpool, U.K., conducted a study that tested the levels of ferritin in the blood of 18 patients, it was found that these patients were found to have lower levels, in turn had a history of RLS. In turn, 18 patients with normal levels did not have the symptoms of RLS.

Facts about Restless Legs Syndrome

Did you know that there is no cure for restless legs syndrome and that there is no known cause yet? What is known is that the condition has been associated with other underlying conditions such as pregnancy, obesity, smoking, having an iron deficiency and also anemia. It can also be associated with individuals who have nerve disease, polyneuropathy, having a heavy metal toxicity or other toxins in your body, having a hormonal disease such as diabetes, or kidney failure when it is associated with a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Medication Woes

Certain medications can increase the severity of symptoms for RLS including the taking of caffeinated products and drinking alcohol. H2-histamine blockers such as the medication Zantac and Tagamet as well as taking antidepressants such as Elavil can contribute to the severity of symptoms of RLS.

What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome

It has only been recently that we, as a public, have become aware of the disorder called Restless Leg Syndrome. Though RLS was first listed in medical books in 1945, it has been around for centuries and its cause is still a mystery.

RLS and ADD

Among the reasons and causes for RLS are a study released some years ago that stated adults with RLS most likely also suffered from ADD or ADHD. RLS symptoms can cause burning, itching, crawling sensations and the victim feels the uncontrollable need to move to seek relief.

In contrast, ADHD is characterized by restlessness, distractibility and impulsiveness – leading the study to find a large number of RLS patients also showed symptoms of ADHD. Also, according to the study, the discomfort from RLS at times causes hyperactivity and distractibility, along with inattentiveness due to lack of sleep.

How to Get Rid of RLS

The following lists some simple, informative tips that will help you get rid of RLS, the condition of restless and cramping legs.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)? You may be asking this question if you have experienced strange sensations at night in your legs and perhaps saw a commercial on TV talking about Restless Legs Syndrome.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological condition that leaves your legs with the urge to move. There are 4 criteria that you must meet in order to be diagnosed with restless leg syndrome. The four criteria are:

    You experience strong urges to move your legs that you are unable to resist. You feel uncomfortable sensations in your legs that accompany the urges to move your legs. These sensations feel like creepy-crawly, a tugging or gnawing feeling in your legs.

Natural Remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome can lead to sleepless nights, discomfort and fatigue. For some turning to medical cures is the only path, while others prefer a more natural approach. It is known that the drugs used to ease the symptoms of RLS can cause side-effects, can be addictive and/or add to their health problems, leaving some to wonder if there is another way to seek relief from their symptoms.

One natural approach is called, LegCalm. LegCalm is used to treat RLS and Periodic Limb Movement (PLM). The herb used in LegCalm is a well-known and has been used in Chinese Medicine for years. The herb, Astragalus, is said to balance and improve the function of the body’s organs, in addition the herb increases circulation and helps in the absorption of iron. This in itself is an important step, as iron-deficiency has been shown to cause RLS symptoms.

Herbal Relief for RLS

Restless Leg Syndrome in Pregnancy

Known mostly among middle-age and the older generation, Restless Leg Syndrome is also common among pregnant women, as their bodies are also going through changes. It is thought that 20 percent of pregnant women will have RLS symptoms, or are more likely to develop symptoms during the last trimester of their pregnancy.

The reasons are not fully known as to why this occurs, though it is thought that iron and/or folate deficiencies, as well as hormonal change and circulatory changes tend to increase the discomfort associated with RLS. This is not unique, however, and should not be alarming as they are common during pregnancy and will often dissipate after giving birth.

Watch Coffee and Cigarettes

Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome

While there are various treatments for restless legs syndrome there is no cure for it. The treatments help to reduce the severity of the symptoms and give the individual the ability to relax and to help distract from the uncomfortable sensations associated with the condition.

The doctor who is treating the individual with restless legs syndrome will design a treatment plan that is based on the age of the patient, the abilities of the patient to participate in various treatments and the severity of the symptoms. The treatment plan will typically include lifestyle suggestions, relaxation techniques, medications & supplements, physical therapy, and self-help methods.

Lifestyle changes that may be suggested to help alleviate the symptoms will be to:

    • Avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine

    • Stop drinking alcohol if alcohol is presently being consumed

    • Avoid nicotine products

Diagnosing Restless Leg Syndrome

When presented with a diagnosis of Restless leg syndrome the treatment and/or self care can vary greatly depending on the severity of the symptoms and the person themselves.

Before beginning treatment it must be determined as to whether the RLS is a primary or secondary condition. This information and diagnosis is important for proper treatment.

Primary RLS

Primary RLS is diagnosed as a genetic disorder, as there seems to be no underlying reason for the symptoms other than family history. Secondary RLS, however, can be more complicated to diagnose or for some to understand. It is believed, first and foremost, that secondary RLS is caused by an iron deficiency. Studies have shown that patients with RLS had low iron levels often had more severe cases of RLS. Also cited in possibly causing RLS symptoms are pregnancy, the use of certain medications and some neurologic conditions.