Restless Legs Syndrome

Many patients with severe venous insufficiency often have symptoms consistent with Restless legs syndrome (RLS) which are relieved after successful treatment of superficial venous insufficiency. RLS is a disruptive neurologic disorder that seriously affects 2-3% of the adult population. RLS results in an irresistible urge to move the legs which is often accompanied by unusual or unpleasant sensations in the legs that may be described as creeping, tugging, or pulling. Because RLS most often occurs in the evening, it can severely disrupt sleep and reduce quality of life. Up to 10% of the U.S. population may have RLS.

Many people have a mild form of the disorder, but RLS severely affects the lives of millions of individuals. RLS is a syndrome or a constellation of symptoms in the absence of a diagnosable condition. The above symptoms of RLS are classically worse when sitting still or in bed at night and generally relieved by walking or contracting the leg muscles and there is also a strong hereditary component. These observations are also noted in patients with venous insufficiency. Other conditions such as nerve problems and most recently venous insufficiency should be excluded before resigning oneself to the RLS diagnosis and years of sleepless nights and dependence on medication.

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