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Jeffery P. Schoonover, MD

Restless Leg Syndrome – RLS

RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME…COULD IT BE VARICOSE VEINS?
Varicose vein treatment can help Restless Leg Syndrome

Are you kept awake at night with irresistible urges to move your legs; a “creeping” feeling in the legs; persistent leg movement during sleep; or tingling, burning, aching or numbness of the legs? This is known as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and is thought to affect as much as 15 percent of the general population. The symptoms of RLS are worse at night or during periods of relaxation, such as lying down during the day. They tend to improve with activity. These symptoms disrupt the sleep not only of the RLS sufferer but can disrupt the sleep of their bed partner as well.

The commonly recommended treatment for RLS is a neurologic medication. Unfortunately, the available medications only relieve the symptoms, they do not cure the condition and must be taken long term. There is additionally the risk of side effects, as there is with any medicine you take.

Venous insufficiency is an often-overlooked cause of RLS. Several studies indicate that as many as 22 percent of those with RLS also have venous insufficiency. In venous insufficiency, or varicose vein disease, the blood valves do not work properly and allow some of the blood to flow backwards and pool in our legs, which can, but not always, result in bulging veins and causes symptoms such as pain, swelling, tiredness, redness or restlessness. The edema, or swelling, that occurs with venous disease often recedes at night and that is believed to somehow cause the “creeping” sensation described by patients with restless leg syndrome. When restless legs occur with venous insufficiency, the RLS can be improved significantly by treating the varicose veins. A study published in the Journal of Phlebology reported that in patients with both RLS and venous disease, 98 percent had their RLS symptoms relieved with varicose vein treatment and 80 percent of experienced long-term relief.

We recommend that anyone who suffers from the symptoms of RLS schedule a consultation with Indiana Vein Specialists®. During this consultation, we will perform a diagnostic ultrasound assessment. This ultrasound tells us if venous insufficiency is present. If so, we will plan a course of treatment for the varicose veins, which usually includes a combination of laser treatment and sclerotherapy. This treatment will treat the varicose veins and can improve the symptoms of RLS, avoiding the lifelong need to take a neurologic medication.

There is no need to let RLS negatively impact your life. Schedule a consultation today.

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