Restless Legs Syndrome

28 Dec

An irresistible need to move your legs during inactivity is the key symptom of restless legs syndrome (RLS), which affects an estimated 7 to 10 percent of the U.S. population. Symptoms often worsen with age.

What to do:  Suzanne Bertisch, M.D., M.P.H., a sleep physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, recommends doing chores at night when you typically have discomfort (RLS) symptoms don’t occur while you’re moving), and distracting yourself with video games or knitting. Moderate, regular exercise can lesson symptoms, while alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine may trigger them. And talk to your doctor about whether you have an iron deficiency, which may play a role.

For people whose RLS symptoms aren’t helped by lifestyle changes, drugs may be an option, though they can have serious side effects. Medications such as pramipexole (Mirapex and generic) can backfire and make the condition worse, while pregabalin (Lyrica) may cause weight gain. Your doctor can help you decide whether drugs might be worth trying.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health December 2017

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