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Is Restless Leg Syndrome Hereditary

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Can Restless Leg Syndrome Be Prevented Or Avoided

A New Solution for Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS cant be prevented because doctors arent sure what causes it. But there are some things you can do to help lessen your symptoms.

Lifestyle changes to treat RLS:

  • For mild symptoms, use an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce twitching and restless sensations.
  • Cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.
  • Try taking a hot bath and massaging your legs before bedtime to help you relax.
  • Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can help you relax before bed.
  • Apply warm or cool packs to your legs, which can help relieve sensations.
  • Try to distract your mind by reading or doing a crossword puzzle while you wait for sleep to come.
  • Moderate exercise may help, but dont overdo it. Exercising vigorously or late in the day may make symptoms worse.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Also try to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night.

Evidence Of Dopaminergic Dysfunction In Rls

Observation studies of RLS in diseases which involve dopaminergic systems lend support to the hypothesis that dopaminergic dysfunction is present in RLS. One family with comorbidity of Huntington’s disease and idiopathic RLS has been reported. All family members affected by RLS also had HD, but not vice versa . Ondo and colleagues found a very high rate of undiagnosed RLS in their patients presenting with essential tremor. However, unlike other “secondary” forms of RLS, this finding was also associated with a high familial history of RLS . A study of comorbidities in Tourette syndrome including RLS investigated 144 probands with TS or chronic tics and their parents. RLS was present in 10% of probands and 23% of parents with no gender differences .

Establish A Bedtime Routine

Creating a bedtime routine is essential for several reasons, most notably better quality of sleep. Studies show that a regular sleep schedule promotes sound sleep quality. If you struggle getting to sleep, a bedtime routine can help turn off your brain and help you reach optimal sleep.

Try setting an alarm to wake you up in the morning, as well as for bedtime. You can use an app on your phone to manage a sleep schedule that will set an alarm to wake you up and silence your phone so you can get peacful sleep. Its important to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekend so your body is getting optimal rest.

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Anticipation And Link With Spinocerebellar Ataxia

Investigations of single families with RLS have suggested an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance with variable expression, and some families show possible anticipation and evidence for an earlier age at onset in later generations., Anticipation has been described in several inherited neurological disordersfor example, Huntington’s disease and spinocerebellar ataxia caused by unstable mutations in the form of expanding trinucleotide repeat sequences leading to earlier age at onset in subsequent generations. Schols et al verified that 45% of patients with SCA3 had RLS, but it is rare in other types of autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias , and RLS is a frequent and treatable cause of disabling sleep disturbance in patients with SCA3. This study provides evidence for the expanded CAG repeat in the SCA3 gene as a molecular factor causing RLS. Recent studies found that patients with SCA, SCA1, SCA2 and SCA3 are more susceptible to RLS than those without SCA .,

Identification Of Restless Legs Syndrome Genes By Mutational Load Analysis

Restless Leg Syndrome

Clinic for Neurosurgery, University Medical Center, Georg August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Center of Parkinsonism and Movement Disorders, Paracelsus-Elena Hospital, Kassel, Germany

Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology, Munich, Germany

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany

Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Helmholtz Zentrum München GmbH, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Neurogenomics, Neuherberg, Germany

Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology, Munich, Germany

Department of Neurogenetics and Institute of Human Genetics, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany

Address correspondence to

Dr Winkelmann, Department of Neurogenetics, Technical University of Munich, Trogerstrasse 32, D-81675, Munich, Germany E-mail: and Dr Oexle, Institute of Neurogenomics, Helmholtz Zentrum München GmbH, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstaedter Landstrasse 1, D-85764, Neuherberg, Germany

Helmholtz Zentrum München GmbH, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Neurogenomics, Neuherberg, Germany

Address correspondence to

Clinic for Neurosurgery, University Medical Center, Georg August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Center of Parkinsonism and Movement Disorders, Paracelsus-Elena Hospital, Kassel, Germany

Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology, Munich, Germany

Address correspondence to

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How Would Studying Populations Other Than Those Of European Ancestry Used In This Study Add To What Is Known About Genetic Causes Of Rls

GAR: Considering differential prevalence of RLS across different populations, such as very low prevalence in Asian countries compared to Europe or North America,1 studies in non-European populations would help identify new genetic factors, not only the ones associated with an increased risk of RLS, but also the ones that may decrease the risk or protect from the disease. Therefore, it would expand our knowledge on the genetic and epidemiological background of RLS.

Guy A. Rouleau, MD, PhD

Environmental And Dietary Factors

The following environmental and dietary factors can trigger or worsen RLS:

  • Iron deficiency. People who are deficient in iron are at risk for RLS, even if they do not have anemia.
  • Folic acid or magnesium deficiencies.
  • Smoking.
  • Caffeine. Coffee drinking is specifically associated with PLMD.
  • Stress.

Drugs that may worsen or provoke RLS include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Metoclopramide
  • Antihistamines
  • Spinal anesthesia

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Restless Arm Restless Body And Other Related Conditions

Its called restless leg syndrome, but it can also affect your arms, trunk, or head. Both sides of the body are usually involved, but some people have it on only one side. Despite these differences, its the same disorder.

About 80 percent of people with RLS also have periodic limb movement of sleep . This causes involuntary leg twitching or jerking during sleep that can last all night long.

Peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, and kidney failure cause symptoms like RLS. Treating the underlying condition often helps.

Many people with Parkinsons disease also have RLS. But most people who have RLS dont go on to develop Parkinsons. The same medications can improve symptoms of both conditions.

Its not uncommon for people with multiple sclerosis to have sleep disturbances, including restless legs, limbs, and body. Theyre also prone to muscles spasms and cramps. Medication used to combat fatigue associated with chronic diseases can also cause this. Medication adjustments and home remedies may help.

Pregnant women are at higher risk of RLS. It usually resolves on its own after the baby is born.

Anyone can have occasional leg cramps or strange sensations that come and go. When symptoms interfere with sleep, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Be sure to mention any underlying health conditions.

How Does Vein Disease Impact Rls

Restless Leg Syndrome – The Nebraska Medical Center

Vein disease can cause restless legs syndrome or make RLS symptoms worse. One study suggests that the urge to move the legs may be rooted in a subconscious effort to return blood to the heart. Vein treatment to restore blood flow to the legs can help.

Vein disease occurs when tiny, one-way vein valves are placed under strain and begin to malfunction. This can affect blood circulation, preventing blood from returning to the heart for reoxygenation. Damaged vein valves can lead to blood flowing backward or pooling in place. This can cause varicose veins, spider veins, restless legs syndrome, and a range of other venous issues to develop. Most commonly, the legs, ankles, and feet are affected.

Vein disease can cause a range of painful and uncomfortable symptoms that may be related to experiencing RLS. Common symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Tired, aching legs
  • Burning in the calf or thigh
  • Leg pain that feels better when you walk or raise your legs
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Difficulty standing for long periods
  • Non-healing wounds on your legs

Like RLS, vein disease can be an inherited condition, but lifestyle factors, such as obesity, inactivity, and smoking, can also influence its development.

If vein disease is found to be the cause of your sleepless nights, we want you to know that minimally invasive, outpatient treatment exists that can alleviate your discomfort and help you get some sleep.

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Future Prospects: Questions To Be Answered

The link between PD and RLS has yet to be clearly determined with clinical association studies differing widely in their findings, with some finding the incidence of RLS to be much greater in PD patients, and others finding no difference from that in the general population. These discrepancies could be addressed with prospective long-term clinical studies of PD patients who develop RLS and vice versa, with documentation of exposure to dopaminergic therapies.

With the exception of the parkin mutation, genetic studies have been failed to reveal any associations. We propose that population based genetic association studies of PD plus RLS and linkage studies of PD plus RLS as well as comparative studies of PD vs. PD-RLS vs. RLS should be conducted.

Sonographic studies reveal notable differences between PD and PD-RLS patients. Functional MRI studies have yet to focus on those patients with PD-RLS. Prospective functional imaging studies of PD vs. PD-RLS are needed to better understand the mechanisms involved in these disorders. To our knowledge, there have been no pathological studies looking at patients with PD-RLS. Establishing the pattern of decreased D2 receptor density in PD vs. PD and RLS vs. RLS may be valuable in understanding common pathophysiology. The reports purporting to DBS and RLS are conflicting, and more studies need to be done to clarify the effect, with attention to adjustments in dopaminergic medications.

Change Your Daily Diet

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common restless legs syndrome causes and linked to conditions such as diabetes and anemia, that contribute to restless legs syndrome symptoms.

Eating foods rich in protein are great sources of B vitamins and iron. Good sources of protein include grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and wild-caught fish. I also recommend eating foods rich in electrolytes, including those high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium such as leafy green vegetables, avocados, sweet potatoes, and bananas.

Healthy fats help control blood glucose levels and can promote a healthy inflammatory response. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado oil, and wild-caught seafood that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

In contrast, you should avoid toxic foods such as alcohol, caffeine, GMOs, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and sugar. These foods could make your restless legs syndrome symptoms worse.

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Restless Leg Syndrome Gene Found In Flies

ByJennifer Welsh31 May 2012

The mysterious condition restless leg syndrome may have a genetic cause, a new study in fruit flies suggests.

Researchers messed with a gene called BTBD9, and found they disrupted the flies’ normally sound sleep. The human version of the gene has been linked to sleep disorders in people.

“The major significance of our study is to highlight the fact that there might be a genetic basis for RLS ,” study researcher Subhabrata Sanyal, of Emory University in Georgia, said in a statement.

Better ways to diagnose and treat restless leg syndrome could come from further study of the gene, Sanyal said.

Restless legs

People with restless leg syndrome have an irresistible urge to move, to rid themselves of unpleasant leg sensations, that gets worse when they try to rest. Previous studies have shown the condition runs in families, and human genetic studies have suggested that BTBD9 may be involved.

It’s unclear what the gene’s normal role is, so Sanyal and colleagues decided to see what would happen to the flies if they snipped the gene out of the flies’ DNA.

They found that flies without BTBD9 moved more often than normal flies, and lost sleep because of this movement. Fly sleep is defined as five minutes without movement, and on average, the mutant flies woke up 50 percent more often than normal flies.

Twitchy flies

When given a restless leg syndrome drug, which influences dopamine levels, the flies’ nighttime jitteriness and other symptoms improved.

Treatment Of Restless Legs Syndrome

Is Restless Leg Syndrome Hereditary? It Can Be, Learn It

Treatment for RLS includes medicines and lifestyle changes. Medicines used to treat Parkinsons disease can help reduce tremors and twitching in the legs. If your iron levels are low, your doctor may prescribe an iron supplement.

In some cases, an anticonvulsant medicine can be helpful. Historically, sleep aids, muscle relaxants , and pain medicines have been prescribed by doctors to relieve symptoms. Use of these medicines is becoming more and more limited for RLS because of their known side effects and potential drawbacks. Opioids, if not taken exactly as instructed by your doctor, can be addictive.

For many cases of RLS, a combination of medicines is usually needed to best treat the condition. Your doctor may prescribe several trials of medicine before finding one that works best for your case of RLS.

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What Are Common Signs And Symptoms Of Restless Legs

People with RLS feel the irresistible urge to move, which is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in their lower limbs that are unlike normal sensations experienced by people without the disorder. The sensations in their legs are often difficult to define but may be described as aching throbbing, pulling, itching, crawling, or creeping. These sensations less commonly affect the arms, and rarely the chest or head. Although the sensations can occur on just one side of the body, they most often affect both sides. They can also alternate between sides. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.

Because moving the legs relieves the discomfort, people with RLS often keep their legs in motion to minimize or prevent the sensations. They may pace the floor, constantly move their legs while sitting, and toss and turn in bed.

A classic feature of RLS is that the symptoms are worse at night with a distinct symptom-free period in the early morning, allowing for more refreshing sleep at that time. Some people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. They may also note a worsening of symptoms if their sleep is further reduced by events or activity.

People with RLS can sometimes experience remissionsspontaneous improvement over a period of weeks or months before symptoms reappearusually during the early stages of the disorder. In general, however, symptoms become more severe over time.

Restless Legs Syndrome Brain Stimulation Study Supports Motor Cortex Excitability As A Cause

Press release:

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say new experiments using magnetic pulse brain stimulation on people with moderate to severe restless legs syndrome have added to evidence that the condition is due to excitability and hyperarousal in the part of the brains motor cortex responsible for leg movement.

The researchers say their findings, published online in Sleep Medicine on May 31, may help devise safer, more effective ways to treat RLS and the chronic sleep deprivation it causes, using electrical or magnetic pulses to calm or interrupt the hyperarousal. Some 10 percent of adults in the U.S. experience RLS at one time or another, and about 1 in 500 report that the condition is severe and chronic enough to interfere with their quality of life, work productivity or mental health, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

People with severe RLS describe symptoms of the condition as an overwhelming urge to move their legs when they are at rest. They may feel pain, or the sensation of soda bubbles in their veins or worms crawling in their legs, with relief coming only when standing or deliberately moving their legs. Long-term effects include fatigue, anxiety and depression, much of it linked to repeated interruption of sound sleep. Standard treatments, which may carry significant side effects, include medications that behave like the neurotransmitter dopamine, opioids and anti-seizure drugs.

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General Consequences Of Sleep Disruption In Rls

Depression is common in RLS patients and may be related to the chronic unremitting nature of symptoms, to the persistent sleep loss or to the underlying brain abnormalities that causes RLS . Treating depression in RLS patients may be difficult at times since some of the antidepressants may individually exacerbate RLS symptoms.

The most disturbing feature of RLS may be the social disruption caused by the need to decrease evening or late afternoon social or work engagements that involve inactivity. Theatre or board meetings or even social dinners can be very challenging to RLS patients . Patients with RLS often experience difficulty in concentrating on daily tasks such as those demanded by their work. They may suffer from problems with short-term memory and some have severe learning difficulties .

Restless legs syndrome patients are more prone to headaches than healthy subjects, probably secondary to the sleep disturbances and sleep loss . Headaches are similar to migraine in character, though with an element of tension-type headache . RLS sufferers may wake in the morning with a headache the headache may disappear during the morning, but can persist all day.

Restless legs syndrome may be linked to cardiovascular disease . Sleep disturbances, regardless of genesis, can have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system. Periodic limb movements during sleep induce rises in blood pressure, which may also be an underlying causal mechanism in this context .

What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome

In most cases, the cause of RLS is unknown . However, RLS has a genetic component and can be found in families where the onset of symptoms is before age 40. Specific gene variants have been associated with RLS. Evidence indicates that low levels of iron in the brain also may be responsible for RLS.

Considerable evidence also suggests that RLS is related to a dysfunction in one of the sections of the brain that control movement that use the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine is needed to produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity and movement. Disruption of these pathways frequently results in involuntary movements. Individuals with Parkinsons disease, another disorder of the basal ganglias dopamine pathways, have increased chance of developing RLS.

RLS also appears to be related to or accompany the following factors or underlying conditions:

  • end-stage renal disease and hemodialysis
  • iron deficiency
  • certain medications that may aggravate RLS symptoms, such as antinausea drugs , antipsychotic drugs , antidepressants that increase serotonin , and some cold and allergy medications that contain older antihistamines
  • use of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
  • pregnancy, especially in the last trimester in most cases, symptoms usually disappear within 4 weeks after delivery
  • neuropathy .

Sleep deprivation and other sleep conditions like sleep apnea also may aggravate or trigger symptoms in some people. Reducing or completely eliminating these factors may relieve symptoms.

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