Health Concerns

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder associated with impaired sleep and characterized by throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs. Patients with RLS often complain of an almost irresistible urge to move their legs. The relentless and tormenting course of RLS symptoms often significantly diminishes quality of life for many of those affected and leads to significant emotional distress (NINDS 2011).

Sleepless nights and mental anguish contribute to a considerable physical and psychological burden for those afflicted with RLS (restless legs syndrome). Unfortunately, drugs used to treat psychological effects associated with RLS, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may trigger or worsen RLS symptoms (Pullen 2011; Lee 2008; Winkelmann 2005; Hornyak 2010).

Pharmaceutical treatment strategies, such as dopaminergic medications, can offer relief for those with RLS. However, a pitfall of dopaminergic drugs used at high doses is that quite often they may exacerbate RLS symptoms via a phenomenon known as augmentation or rebound. Fortunately, the 2012 approval of sustained release, transdermal rotigotine may overcome this roadblock (Bell 2012; Elshoff 2012; Boroojerdi 2010; Godau 2011).

Many people do not realize that RLS can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary RLS has no known cause, whereas secondary RLS is related to another medical ailment. For example, secondary RLS is often associated with high blood sugar related nerve damage or chronic vascular disease like deep vein thrombosis and arterial claudication (Gemignani 2007; McDonagh 2007).

In this protocol, you will learn about possible causes of RLS and discover that treatment strategies vary based on the origins of the condition. You will also learn about convenient blood tests that might help uncover unexpected secondary causes of RLS symptoms.