A lot of us may not consider restless leg syndrome (RLS) as a serious condition, but for those who are affected, it is a different story. Restless leg syndrome, or Willis-Ekburn disease, is a condition that is neurological in origin. It is the irresistible need to move a certain body part just to cope with stress, anxiety, pain or other external factors. It usually affects the legs, hence the name, but it could also affect the arms, the trunk area and even phantom body parts. Phantom body parts are those limbs that have been amputated, but the amputee still feels as if that certain limb is still there.

The real cause of this syndrome is not known. However, genetics has been found to play a great part in the passing on of the disease. People who exhibit signs and symptoms of restless leg syndrome at a young age usually get it from their parents. Other related factors would be pregnancy, kidney conditions, iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease and other neurologic conditions.

Spotting restless leg syndrome is easy. The following would be the most common signs and symptoms of RLS: cramps, pain, tingling, and/or itchy sensation in the legs. Some patients even refer to it as an “itch that can neither be placed nor scratched.”

In diagnosing restless leg syndrome, not a lot of lab work is needed. The patient would not need to have xrays or other imaging tests done because they would not show any abnormal results related to the disease. Blood exams may be done to check for dopamine and iron levels. It has be found that patients with this syndrome usually show a decrease in the level of dopamine and/or iron, thus some restless leg syndrome treatments target the correction of those abnormalities.

The most accurate way to diagnose the disease though, would be through the criteria set by the National Institutes of Health. These four conditions should be met before giving out the diagnosis. One would be that the patient should have a very strong need to move his legs or limbs. Next would be that the symptoms worsen during periods of inactivity. Third would be that the symptoms are relieved by movement. And lastly, symptoms worsen at night.

Treatment for restless leg syndrome varies from person to person and depends on the underlying cause of the condition. For example, if it has been found that low dopamine levels may have cause your leg’s jerky movements, then your doctor may prescribe you with medication that would help return them to normal levels. If the underlying cause of RLS would be stress, then your doctor may give you sedatives and might advise you to use some relaxation techniques to combat the stress. Some of these techniques would be deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga.

Though restless leg syndrome does not have any serious implications to one’s health, it could really become bothersome since your involuntary movements might keep you up at night and deprive you from the rest that you need. If you observe yourself to be exhibiting the behaviors mentioned above, and if you feel that you have met the four criterion set by the NIH, you should go and consult your doctor.

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For more information on Different Types of Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnoses, Please visit: Restless Leg Syndrome Treatments, Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms and Pms Symptoms.