When most of us hear the word “Restless Leg Syndrome” we think of lying there at night trying to go to sleep with our leg or legs twitching involuntarily. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is believed to affect more than 10 million adults in the United States.While it may be primarily a twitch, it is also often described as an itchy sensation and even feeling like throbbing or bugs crawling on your legs. It makes sleep a near impossibility.
There is no one single test for RLS. General practitioners will usually refer the patient out to a variety of specialists. RLS may stem from a variety of causes including genetic issues and lack of iron. It has also been closely associated with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s.
The most common referrals made are:
- Neurologists –Neurologists have special training in treating nervous disorders including peripheral neuropathy and Parkinson’s Disease.
- Sleep specialists – Lack of sleep can be one of the most troublesome symptoms.
- Pain specialists – When these sensations are more severe, patients may see a pain specialist in hopes of some assistance alleviating these sensations. This is usually accomplished through medications including: Dopaminergic agents, Benzodiazepines, Opiates, Anticonvulsant, Alpha2 agonists.
The one that is often overlooked and ironically the most likely is sending the RLS patient to consult with a Vein Specialist. Chronic venous insufficiency is often an underlying cause of this disorder. It has been estimated that more than 25% of the population suffers from some level of venous deficiency. Despite this it quite often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as other issues.
Studies show that proper vein treatment can help to relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome. According to a study in the journal Phlebology, in patients with restless leg syndrome who presented venous insufficiency, 98% of patients found relief from restless legs syndrome symptoms by treating their venous insufficiency, and 80% had long-term lasting relief.
Before medicating a patient for symptoms of RLS – A Vein Specialist should always be consulted in order to rule out venous insufficiency first.
Dr. Magnant is the premier Vein Specialist in South West Florida. If you are experiencing symptoms of RLS or have had a diagnosis of RLS we invite you to give us a call at 239-694-VEIN (8346) or visit our website www.weknowveins.com.