If you suffer from the benign-sounding Restless Leg Syndrome, you know the symptoms are worse than the name.
RLS, as it is most commonly called, causes uncomfortable and sometimes unbearable sensations in your limbs – itchiness, tingling, numbness or burning — that result in an irresistible urge to move your legs. It strikes most often at night, so it keeps you awake, too.
RLS seems to be easily inherited, but a number of health issues can lead to the syndrome, including kidney problems, iron deficiency, diabetes, pregnancy, some drugs and even too much caffeine.
One common cause is varicose veins.
The exact connection is not known but studies have shown that most RLS sufferers who have symptoms of varicose veins experience relief from both problems after undergoing varicose vein removal.
A report published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a department of the National Institutes of Health, showed that about 22 percent of patients with RLS also had varicose veins. Relief came to 98 percent of those patients when their varicose veins were treated. A year later, RLS had returned for 8 percent, however, and 28 percent reported RLS symptoms two years after treatment.
If your RLS symptoms aren’t too bad yet, you can try treating them at home by soaking in a warm bath, exercising, applying warm or cool packs to your legs, and practicing meditation or yoga to relieve stress (especially before you go to sleep). Try to get enough sleep and don’t drink coffee or other caffeine drinks late in the day.
A doctor who specializes in vein treatments can quickly tell you whether you have symptoms of varicose veins and your options for treating them. If the physician finds no signs of varicose veins, the next step is to see a neurologist.
When you think your RLS is connected to varicose veins, call the Vein Institute of Connecticut to schedule a free appointment with Dr. Afshar. He will discuss your options with you.