Does Cbd Work For Restless Leg Syndrome
Are you are having trouble sleeping at night because of unpleasant sensations in your legs?; Jerking or twitching movements during sleep are signs of restless leg syndrome. Because of sleep disturbances at night, you struggle to stay awake during the day and feel generally tired.
Even though restless leg syndrome has no cure, medications can treat its symptoms. And people with RLS who have used CBD products claim that they experienced relief from the symptoms. They were able to sleep peacefully at night and have robust mental health. Cannabidiol is a chemical component of the cannabis plant that users allege to have potential benefits. Studies are still being conducted to prove these claims.
The Waking Nightmare Of Restless Leg Syndrome
My insomnia, like everybody elses, manifests itself in multiple ways. I suffer from a neurological disorder that is under-studied and poorly understood. Its an orphan disease, meaning there are not enough people with the disorder to make further research profitable. It is merely coincidental, but nevertheless usefully symbolic, that the disorders symptoms include an inability to stop moving the physical manifestation of attention surplus;disorder.
Imagine being tired and ready for bed. Youve turned off the lights, brushed your teeth, turned down the blankets and settled your body. Now imagine that just as you are about to lose consciousness, somebody creeps into your bedroom and injects you with an oversized, clowns-prop needle full of adrenalin. Your mind is still foggy, but your physical body is ready to run a marathon. And the adrenalin wont wear off for hours, long after the cramps, the seized muscles and the feeling that your kneecaps are being squeezed between two bricks have;dissipated.
My mother once told me that I was a kicker when I was a baby, and that she had to constantly check me to see if I had thrown off my blankets. But dont all children do that? I remember an opposite reaction to childhood sleeplessness obsessively winding myself tighter and tighter into my;bedding.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Periodic limb movement disorder is also known as nocturnal myoclonus. Characteristics of PLMD include:
- Nighttime episodes that usually peak near midnight .
- Contractions and jerking of the leg muscles every 20 to 40 seconds during sleep. These movements may last less than 1 second, or as long as 10 seconds.
- Movements of PLMD do not wake the person who actually has it, but they are often noticed by their bed partner. This condition is distinct from the brief and sudden movements that occur just as people are falling asleep, which can interrupt sleep.
- Association with RLS: Four out of five people who have RLS also report having PLMD, but only a third of people with PLMD report having RLS.
While treatments for the two conditions are similar, PLMD is a separate syndrome. PLMD is also very common in narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes people to fall asleep suddenly and uncontrollably.
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What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome
More often than not, the cause of RLS is a mystery. There may be a genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger.
More than 40 percent of people with RLS have some family history of the condition. In fact, there are five gene variants associated with RLS. When it runs in the family, symptoms usually start before age 40.
There may be a connection between RLS and low levels of iron in the brain, even when blood tests show that your iron level is normal.
RLS may be linked to a disruption in the dopamine pathways in the brain. Parkinsons disease is also related to dopamine. That may explain why many people with Parkinsons also have RLS. Some of the same medications are used to treat both conditions. Research on these and other theories is ongoing.
Its possible that certain substances like caffeine or alcohol can trigger or intensify symptoms. Other potential causes include medications to treat:
Primary RLS isnt related to an underlying condition. But RLS can actually be an offshoot of another health problem, like neuropathy, diabetes, or kidney failure. When thats the case, treating the main condition may resolve RLS issues.
There are certain things that may put you in a higher risk category for RLS. But its uncertain if any of these factors actually cause RLS.
Some of them are:
Having RLS can affect your overall health and quality of life. If you have RLS and chronic sleep deprivation, you may be a higher risk of:
- heart disease
Treatment Of Restless Legs Syndrome
There is often no cure for primary restless legs syndrome, though its symptoms can be managed to make the condition easier to live with.
If restless legs syndrome is caused by a condition or medication, symptoms may go away and not return if the condition is cured or the causative medication is stopped. For example:
- RLS caused by pregnancy typically ends within four weeks after giving birth
- Treating iron deficiency with iron supplements may cause an associated RLS to go away
- RLS caused or made worse by a medication may be treated by stopping or changing medication, after consultation with a medical professional
Good to know: Stopping taking or changing any prescribed medication, without first seeking medical advice, can lead to serious health problems.
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How To Self Test For Rls
Find a notebook or use the notes app on your phone to use as a sleep diary. Each night when you go to bed, and each morning when you wake up, answer the following questions. Youll use this information to answer questions the doctor asks you during your appointment.
Sleep Quality Questions:;
- What time did you fall asleep? Did it take you longer than usual to fall asleep due to RLS symptoms?
- What time did you wake up? Did you wake naturally or due to an alarm clock?
- How much time did you spend asleep in total?
- Did you wake up at all during the night? Note down how many times you woke up, for how long, and what caused you to wake up, if applicable .
- Did you nap at all during the day? How many times, and for how long?
- What symptoms of RLS are you experiencing? Write down what they feel like.
- What time did the symptoms occur, and what were you doing?
- Where did you feel the symptoms ?
- How severe were the symptoms?
- How long did the symptoms last?
- What helped relieve your symptoms, if anything?
- What type of exercise, if any, did you do each day?
- Did you take any medications? List them out, along with the dose.
- Did you have any caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine?
- How did you feel during the day? Mentally, physically, and emotionally?
Within a few weeks, you may notice certain trends. For example, your symptoms may worsen when you drink caffeine. Make note of these trends to share with your doctor.
Diagnosing Restless Legs Syndrome
There’s no single test for diagnosing restless legs syndrome.
A diagnosis will be based on your symptoms, your medical and family history, a physical examination, and your test results.
Your GP should be able to diagnose restless legs syndrome, but they may refer you to a neurologist if there’s any uncertainty.
There are four main criteria your GP or specialist will look for to confirm a diagnosis. These are:
- an overwhelming urge to move your legs, usually with an uncomfortable sensation such as;itching or tingling
- your symptoms occur or get worse when you’re resting or inactive
- your symptoms are relieved by moving your legs or rubbing them
- your symptoms are worse during the evening or at night
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Signs And Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome
People with RLS experience uncomfortable feelings in their legs when sitting or lying down.
People with RLS frequently describe these feelings as:
- Hard to describe
Some individuals experience symptoms throughout the day, but the symptoms will always be worse at night.
In general, getting up and walking will immediately relieve the symptoms; but they usually return as soon as you settle back into a restful state.
How Often Do Symptoms Occur
The frequency of symptoms can vary from person to person. Moderate cases of RLS typically see symptoms occur about once or twice a week, while severe cases may cause symptoms to appear more than two times a week.
Sometimes RLS symptoms may go away for weeks or months at a time before reappearing. This typically happens in the early stages of developing this condition.
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A Closer Look At Neuropathy
Neuropathy can be broken down further, into:4
- Mononeuropathy – damage to a single nerve or nerve type
- Multifocal neuropathy – damage to a combination of nerves in a limited area
- Polyneuropathy – widespread nerve damage to peripheral nerves throughout the body
Like RLS, neuropathy comes complete with its own set of criteria for diagnosis.
What differentiates it from RLS discomfort is the fact that its pain does not go away with movement.
In fact, movement may worsen a case of neuropathy. And the pain tends to be present, to different degrees, throughout the day, whereas RLS comes and goes based on activity level.
Duration Of Restless Legs Syndrome
That said, current therapies can control the disorder, minimize symptoms, and increase periods of restful sleep.
In cases of secondary RLS, when your RLS is caused by another disease or condition, symptoms usually go away when the disease or condition improves.
In addition, if your restless legs syndrome is triggered by medications or the use of caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol, the condition usually improves or goes away once you stop using the medications or substances.
RLS as a disorder is not dangerous or life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable, making it hard to sleep and affecting your quality of life.
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Complaints May Increase In Hot Weather
Medical treatment often work. However, there are also patients who have used lifelong medication. This is more common due to loss of liquid electrolytes during pregnancy. Although it is more common in women, people in the 20-30 age range are more affected by this syndrome. Air temperatures can further trigger the symptoms of this syndrome.
Causes And Risk Factors For Restless Leg Syndrome
Scientists, as of yet, have no idea what causes or aggravates Restless Leg Syndrome but it has shown to be linked to other pre-existing conditions. A family history of RLS is present in about 50% of those properly diagnosed. Other contributing factors are low iron levels or anemia, vitamin deficiencies, pregnancy, certain medications including some over the counter cough and cold remedies and chronic diseases such as kidney failure, diabetes and Parkinsons disease.
Researchers estimate that between 2% and 15% of the worlds population suffers from RLS but the numbers could be much higher due to those afflicted being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as there are no clinical tests for the presence of or predisposition for RLS. It affects slightly more women than men and increases in severity with age. It can begin as early as infancy or develop at any stage of life where it will become a life long condition for which there is no cure.
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What Is Restless Legs Syndrome Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes an overwhelming urge to move the legs, usually to alleviate unpleasant sensations.
Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, RLS occurs when the legs are at rest and is typically most severe in the evening and night, potentially disrupting a person’s sleep and affecting daily activities.
Treatment And Medication Options For Restless Legs Syndrome
- Iron;A trial of iron supplements is often recommended as a first treatment if your blood test indicates low or low-normal ferritin, a protein in the body that binds to iron.
- Anti-seizure drugs;These can be effective in decreasing sensory disturbances such as creeping and crawling as well as nerve pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved gabapentin enacarbil for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS.
- Dopaminergic agents;These have been shown to reduce symptoms of RLS when taken at nighttime. The FDA has approved ropinirole, pramipexole, and rotigotine to treat moderate to severe RLS.
- Opioid drugs;Methadone, codeine, hydrocodone, or oxycodone are sometimes prescribed to treat individuals with more severe symptoms of RLS who do not respond well to other medications.
- Benzodiazepines;Medications such as clonazepam and lorazepam are sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia.
- Hot baths
- Lifestyle changes, including implementing a regular exercise program, maintaining regular sleep patterns, and limiting use of tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine
Being active throughout the day helps alleviate symptoms for some. This gives your muscles the chance to exert the energy that they would otherwise exert at night.
Some people find that good sleep habits can also help with symptoms of RLS.
These habits can include:
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Adults Under Age 50 Had Threefold Greater Mortality Risk
Adults younger than age 50 treated with quinine for muscle cramps or restless leg syndrome had a threefold increased risk for death, according to results from a population-based study.
Treatment with quinine was associated with a less pronounced mortality increase in older adults, and there was a dose-response relationship, wrote Laurence Fardet, MD, PhD, of Frances University Paris-Est Cretei, and colleagues in JAMA.
Last year, the FDA once again warned against the off-label use of the malaria drug Qualaquin for the treatment of night-time leg cramps, noting that the treatment can cause life-threatening bleeding. FDA officialsa decade earlier in a report associating 93 deaths and 665 adverse outcomes with quinine use for these indications.
A Cochrane review in 2015 found low quality evidence that quinine treatment of 200 mg to 500 mg daily significantly reduces muscle cramp frequency, with moderate quality evidence that quinine reduces cramp intensity.
Fardets group noted that despite the safety warnings and questionable efficacy, quinine is still prescribed for the treatment of restless leg syndrome and other muscle cramp disorders.
The researchers also expressed concern that the widely consumed alcohol mixer beverages bitter lemon and tonic water, which contain quinine, could pose a risk to people who consume the drinks daily, although they cited no clinical evidence to back up the concern.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
There is significant overlap between some of the symptoms and treatments for RLS and attention deficit hyperactive disorder . Up to a quarter of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may also have RLS, sleep apnea, or PLMD. These conditions may actually contribute to inattentiveness and hyperactivity. The disorders have much in common, including poor sleep habits, twitching, and the need to get up suddenly and walk about frequently. Some evidence suggests that the link between the diseases may be a deficiency in the brain chemical dopamine.
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Pins And Needles Neuropathy Style
Neuropathy generally describes nerve pain which can be symptomatic of other conditions. But neuropathy is also a medical condition all its own, describing damage to one or more nerves which results in you guessed it pins and needles .4
Peripheral neuropathy, in particular, can confuse the issue. It more specifically targets the pain and discomfort of nerves in the arms, legs, hands, and feet areas whose functions are served by the peripheral nervous system.
While RLS refers to leg sensations, RLS is also known to occur in the arms.5 So it may be difficult to know if a case of nerve discomfort in these areas is caused by RLS or peripheral neuropathy without diving deeper.
Periodic Limb Movements In Sleep
Up to 80% of people with;restless legs syndrome also have periodic limb movements in sleep .
If you have PLMS, your leg will jerk or twitch uncontrollably,;usually;at night while you’re asleep. The movements are brief and repetitive, and usually occur every 10 to 60 seconds.
PLMS can be severe enough to wake up both you and your partner. The involuntary leg movements;can also occur when you’re awake and resting.
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How A Doctor Diagnoses Rls
In general, the following Diagnostic Criteria must be met for a doctor to diagnose RLS:
A challenge of diagnosing RLS is, at least in part, the reliance on reporting of subjective symptoms, which makes use of a sleep diary critical in documenting ones experiences.
When you meet with your doctor, they will perform an initial diagnostic interview for RLS. They may ask you screening questions like the ones below:
Based on your answers, your doctor may order a blood test or refer you to a sleep specialist. A blood test will help rule out an iron deficiency, a risk factor for RLS. An overnight sleep study, known as a polysomnogram, may be ordered if your doctor thinks your symptoms may be related to another sleep disorder, like periodic limb movement disorder or sleep apnea. These disorders can coexist with RLS or worsen symptoms.
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Association Between Rls And Type 2 Diabetes
In 2007, Italian researcher Giovanni Merlino and colleagues were the first investigators to demonstrate an association between RLS and type 2 diabetes and demonstrate that peripheral neuropathy is a primary risk factor for RLS in diabetic patients. They compared the prevalence of RLS among diabetic outpatients versus among nondiabetic controls who were diagnosed with other endocrine diseases. They also assessed the diabetic patients for peripheral neuropathy to determine whether it was a risk factor for RLS.
They found that RLS was approximately three times more prevalent among the diabetic patients than among the control patients . Statistical tests further revealed that RLS was independently and significantly associated with type 2 diabetes.
Other researchers have similarly corroborated an association between diabetes and RLS. For example, Zobeiri and Shokoohi found that the prevalence of RLS was approximately four times higher among the diabetic patients than among; the control patients , and that this difference was significant.
Sabic and colleagues also noted an association between diabetes and RLS, but with an interesting finding. They examined the frequency of RLS among patients with hypertension and among diabetic patients with and without hypertension versus its frequency among healthy controls. There was a greater frequency of RLS among patients with hypertension and among diabetic patients with or without hypertension , compared to the controls .
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