Vein Specialists located in Charlotte, NC
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a frustrating condition that strikes just when you want to relax for the night, causing an uncontrollable need to move your legs. If your primary care physician can’t find a cause for your restless legs, Peter Ford, MD, FACS, RPVI, and the team at Vascular Solutions in Charlotte, North Carolina, encourage you to have a thorough vascular exam. A vein condition called venous reflux often triggers RLS. To learn more about vein disease and RLS, call the office or request an appointment online today.
Restless Leg Syndrome Q & A
What is restless leg syndrome?
RLS causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. This desire begins when you lay down to rest or after sitting for a long time. Your legs continue to twitch while you sleep, often waking you up. Most patients eliminate the urge and feel better when they walk or move their legs.
In addition to leg movement, RLS causes unpleasant sensations in your legs. Patients often describe these sensations as creeping, crawling, itching, and aching. Some people feel an electric-shock sensation.
Many patients with venous reflux and varicose veins will experience both leg cramping and leg restlessness, especially at night. Clinically, it’s often difficult (and sometimes impossible) to distinguish between leg cramps and leg restlessness.
What causes restless leg syndrome?
Though physicians can’t always identify the underlying cause, RLS is thought to be associated with an imbalance in the brain chemical dopamine, which regulates muscle movement.
RLS also tends to develop in people with:
- Venous insufficiency
- Iron deficiency
- Low vitamin D
- Kidney failure
Venous reflux is frequently associated with RLS. A study released in March 2020 found that 78% of those with venous reflux had symptoms of restless legs, compared to only 44% of those who did not have venous disease.
Venous reflux is a condition in which valves malfunction, blood accumulates in the leg vein, and vein pressure increases. Many people with this condition develop varicose veins and other leg problems such as leg swelling.
How is restless leg syndrome treated?
RLS that’s not associated with vein disease is treated with iron supplements and different medications to reduce your symptoms and increase brain chemicals. Medical devices are also available that relieve RLS symptoms by applying pressure to your feet or gently stimulating your legs.
If you consult another doctor who can’t identify a specific cause for your RLS — which often happens — the Vascular Solutions team can determine if venous reflux is the underlying problem.
It’s important to identify a potential vascular problem before you consider other medical treatments for RLS. If you have venous reflux, treating the vein condition usually alleviates RLS.
Vascular Solutions diagnoses venous insufficiency using duplex ultrasound. Then they determine the best treatment for your vein problem, choosing from among several advanced, minimally invasive procedures to close the veins and eliminate venous reflux.
If you need help with restless legs, call Vascular Solutions, or request an appointment online today.