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What Foods Trigger Restless Leg Syndrome

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What Research Is Being Done

Restless Leg Syndrome: Triggers, Home Remedies and Treatment | Andy Berkowski, MD

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

While the direct cause of RLS is often unknown, changes in the brains signaling pathways are likely to contribute to the disease. In particular, researchers suspect that impaired transmission of dopamine signals in the brains basal ganglia may play a role. There is a relationship between genetics and RLS. However, currently there is no genetic testing. NINDS-supported research is ongoing to help discover genetic relationships and to better understand what causes the disease.

The NINDS also supports research on why the use of dopamine agents to treat RLS, Parkinsons disease, and other movement disorders can lead to impulse control disorders, with aims to develop new or improved treatments that avoid this adverse effect.

More information about research on RLS supported by NINDS or other components of the NIH is available through the NIH RePORTER , a searchable database of current and previously funded research, as well as research results such as publications.

Restless Legs Syndrome Medications

Medications are usually not required for mild or secondary restless legs syndrome other than supplements or OTC pain relievers. First-line treatments for chronic or severe RLS are dopamine agonists or gabapentinoids, anti-seizure drugs that can also relieve nerve pain. When all else fails, low doses of opioids can manage symptoms.

How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Diagnosed

Since there is no specific test for RLS, the condition is diagnosed by a doctors evaluation. The five basic criteria for clinically diagnosing the disorder are:

  • A strong and often overwhelming need or urge to move the legs that is often associated with abnormal, unpleasant, or uncomfortable sensations.
  • The urge to move the legs starts or get worse during rest or inactivity.
  • The urge to move the legs is at least temporarily and partially or totally relieved by movements.
  • The urge to move the legs starts or is aggravated in the evening or night.
  • The above four features are not due to any other medical or behavioral condition.

Diagnosing RLS in children may be especially difficult, since it may be hard for children to describe what they are experiencing, when and how often the symptoms occur, and how long symptoms last. Pediatric RLS can sometimes be misdiagnosed as “growing pains” or attention deficit disorder.

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Other Tips For Restless Leg Syndrome

Other health conditions. Studies on restless legs syndrome show that people who have this condition are also more likely to:

  • Be obese
  • Have diabetesâ
  • Have cardiovascular diseaseâ

By treating or preventing these conditions, you may also improve symptoms of restless legs syndrome. â

Sleep habits. You can also create a healthy bedtime routine that makes it easier to fall asleep at night.

Tips for this include:

  • Keep your room cool and dark.
  • Turn off all artificial lights and electronic devices like your TV and phone.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Cut out caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the hours leading up to your bedtime.
  • Get physical activity each day, like going for a walk or participating in a sportâ.
  • Avoid late dinners that fall too close to bedtime.

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What Medications Aggravate Restless Legs Syndrome

7 Steps to Overcome Restless Leg Syndrome

Many types of medications cause restless legs syndrome or make the symptoms worse. In some cases, stopping the medication is often enough to end RLS symptoms entirely. These medications include:

  • Antihistamines

* Prescription savings vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and may reach up to 80% off cash price.

Pharmacy names, logos, brands, and other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.

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Other Rls Triggers In Your Diet

Eating meals that are rich in protective nutrients may be an important step in reducing your RLS symptoms. However, other common triggers in your diet can aggravate your RLS. These include:10

  • Caffeine
  • Carbohydrates and refined sugars
  • Foods that are high in sodium

In short, if you stick to a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you may feel better and most likely, you will sleep better, too.

What Is The Best Medication For Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is a complex neurological condition. Some of the most effective medications, dopamine agonists, lose effectiveness very quickly and could make the condition worse over time. Others have serious side effects. Many of the medications prescribed by doctors are not approved for RLS, so their effectiveness has not been proven. For all these reasons, the best medication for restless legs syndrome will depend on how well the patient responds to any therapy.

Best medications for restless leg syndrome
Drug Name
325 mg to 650 mg every six hours as neededNausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite

Many of the standard dosages above are from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health . Suggested opioid doses are from the Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Neurology. Dosage is determined by your doctor based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight. Other possible side effects exist. This is not a complete list.

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Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome

The defining symptom of restless legs syndrome is an overwhelming urge to move the legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation such as tingling, itching, throbbing, aching or feeling like electric shock. However, there are additional common symptoms that accompany restless legs syndrome. These include:

  • Sensations that get worse after laying down or spending a long period of time sitting in a car, airplane, or a movie theater.
  • You get temporary relief with movement such as stretching, jiggling your legs, or walking.
  • Your symptoms are worse at night.
  • Nighttime leg twitching.

Symptoms can go away for periods of time and then come back. In order to find relief, you have to get to the root cause of your symptoms. Lets talk about restless legs syndrome causes.

Restless Legs Syndrome Causes

RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME: Foods to Avoid-Causes-Symptoms-Relief-Triggers-Medications-Pathophysiology

In most cases, there is no direct cause of restless legs syndrome. However, genetics does play a significant role. If your symptoms develop before the age of 45, it is more likely that you have a first-degree relative such as a parent or sibling with RLS. While genetics plays a role in your risk of having restless legs syndrome, there is more evidence RLS could be caused by a hormone imbalance, autoimmune disease, nutrient deficiencies, and even pregnancy. Here are 6 common causes of restless legs syndrome:

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How Else Can I Relieve My Symptoms

RLS is often at its worst when youre trying to sleep. So its important to make your bedroom a relaxing place that promotes sleep. Keep the room cool and eliminate clutter. Turn off devices that make it difficult to fall asleep, such as your computer and cell phone.

Other changes that may help relieve RLS include:

  • quitting smoking
  • taking a warm bath before going to bed
  • massaging the affected area
  • limiting alcohol consumption, especially before bedtime
  • distracting yourself with a crossword or book before going to sleep
  • using heat or ice on the affected area
  • using a foam roller

To give yourself the best chance of overcoming RLS, stay as healthy as possible by practicing common-sense diet dos and donts. For example:

  • Do eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens.
  • Do eat a variety of iron-rich lean meats .
  • Do eat tree nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  • Dont eat a lot of processed foods.
  • Dont consume foods and beverages high in sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Dont eat fried foods and other foods that cause weight gain.

In many cases, RLS can improve with diet and lifestyle changes. Although your results will vary depending on the cause of your RLS, certain changes may take a while to show effects. If your RSL hasnt improved or has worsened after a few weeks, consider talking to your doctor about the risks and benefits of prescription drug treatments.

Avoid Sugar And Sodium Before Bed

If you are consuming foods that are loaded with sugar and sodium, especially before bed, it can make the symptoms of restless leg syndrome so much worse.

These two minerals will activate and worsen the symptoms someone experiences, so its important to make sure you try to not eat them close to bed time or even cut them out altogether if you can.

If you want to get a good nights sleep, you may want to think twice before binging on some junk food in front of the TV.

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Foods That Cause Restless Leg Syndrome

Apart from alcohol and caffeine, there are several other foods that cause restless leg syndrome symptoms, such as processed foods, fatty, fried foods, soda, and anything high in sugar. Obese people are more prone to RLS, given the fact that it is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and lose dopamine receptors.

What Should I Do To Treat Restless Legs Syndrome

Weighted Blankets For Restless Leg Syndrome: Do They Work?#BeautyBlog # ...

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following at-home methods to help treat and prevent RLS:

  • Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.
  • Apply warm or cool packs. Use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, may lessen your limb sensations.
  • Establish good sleep hygiene. Fatigue tends to worsen symptoms of RLS so its important that you practice good sleep hygiene.
  • Exercise. Getting moderate, regular exercise may relieve symptoms of RLS but overdoing it or working out too late in the day may intensify symptoms.
  • Avoid caffeine. Sometimes cutting back on caffeine may help restless legs
  • Consider using a foot wrap. A foot wrap specially designed for people with RLS puts pressure under your foot and may help relieve your symptoms.

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Are There Foods That Cause Restless Leg Syndrome 7 Lifestyle Changes To Make After An Rls Diagnosis

Having a hard time falling asleep, courtesy of your restless leg syndrome? This feeling is all too familiar, and it can be such a pain, literally and figuratively. One of the worst things about RLS is that it can be hard for others to understand and even harder to manage.

Without enough rest at night, your days are disrupted by fatigue and restlessness. On the bright side, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to ease restless leg syndrome and lead a better life.

In this post, well look at foods that cause restless leg syndrome, and seven lifestyle changes that will improve your immunity, cognition, and cardiovascular fitness.

Find out what you need to do below.

How Do You Sleep With Restless Legs

To improve sleep, people with restless legs syndrome need to make a few lifestyle changes that include avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, practicing good sleep hygiene, relaxing before bed with a warm bath or stretching, moderate daily exercise, and leg massage. People with severe RLS will need prescription medications to reduce symptoms sufficiently to be able to sleep.

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Restless Legs Syndrome In Kids

Restless Legs Syndrome in children is closely linked to other ailments. Recent evidence demonstrates that restless sleep in children is commonly seen in association with other medical or sleep disorders, says Dr DAnna. These are sleep-disordered breathing, respiratory tract disorder, sleep-related movement disorder, neurologic or psychiatric disorders, neurodevelopmental disorder or other medical disorders, he explains.

According to the RLS charity RLS-UK, Restless Legs Syndrome is often mistaken for Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder in children. In fact, the charity website states that recent research by sleep specialists indicates that at least 25% of the children who have a diagnosis of ADHD may truly have Restless Legs Syndrome. This is because children with RLS tend to seek relief from their discomfort by moving their legs often by fidgeting, stretching, walking, running, rocking or changing position in bed. They may also sleep less well and are tired and hyperactive during the day, reports the charity.

If your child is experiencing symptoms its important that they see a GP. If your child is low in iron this can result in Restless Legs Syndrome, as can the side effects of some drugs. For example, certain over-the-counter medicines for allergies or colds. Your child should avoid anything that contains caffeine, such as chocolate and cola, and go to bed only to sleep so no reading or watching TV in bed.

Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene

Natural Support For RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)

About three in four RLS patients have problems sleeping. Good sleep hygiene may not affect RLS symptoms but can improve sleep and increase daytime wakefulness. Go to bed at the same time every night, turn off the light, and eliminate distractions. Use yoga, stretching, or warm baths to relax before bedtime. Avoid heavy meals, excitement, or stimulants like caffeine before bedtime.

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What Vitamins Help Restless Leg Syndrome

by Enticare Updates | Dec 1, 2021 | Brain Health, Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, around 10 percent of individuals experience Restless Legs Syndrome at times. 1 in 500 reports that the condition is chronic and interferes with their quality of life, work productivity, and mental health. If you suffer from uneasy feelings in your legs that keep you up at night, you may wonder what vitamins might help restless leg syndrome. Lets look at what RLS is and what you can do about your suffering.

Keep Your Mind Active

When restless legs strike it can be very easy to become fixated on your symptoms. The more you want your legs to keep still, the more it seems they will continue to jerk and twitch. Thats why, instead of lying and becoming more and more stressed, it might be an idea to try and keep your mind occupied.

Now this doesnt mean you should reach for your smartphone and start scrolling through social media it might divert your attention for a few minutes but, in the long run, it wont do any favours for your sleep patterns. If you need to, get up and walk around, read a book or do a puzzle anything that keeps your attention away from the sensations in your legs is bound to help, providing that it is a relatively relaxed activity that isnt too stimulating!

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Who Suffers From Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS is a common neurological disorder that can occur in adults and children. Both men and women get RLS, but incidence of the syndrome is about twice as high in women. Symptoms of RLS become more frequent and last longer with age. RLS causes unpleasant sensations and an uncontrollable urge to move your legs.

Try A Weighted Blanket

[Infographic] The Link Between Restless Legs Syndrome and Lupus

There has been quite a bit of research shown that weighted blankets can really help with the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Weighted blankets work by applying gentle pressure all over the body, and it can help to distract from the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

This blanket can help as the pressure being applied to someones legs produces the hugging effect. The hugging effect will release key relaxation and sleep hormones so you can get a good nights sleep.

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Understanding Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is also called Willis-Ekbom disease. You can begin to feel it at any age, and it typically gets worse as you grow older. Restless legs syndrome makes it hard to sleep well and may interfere with your overall quality of life.â

Simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help relieve symptoms. Medications also help many people with RLS.â

The overwhelming need to move your legs is the main way restless legs syndrome is diagnosed.â

However, you may also have:

  • Sensations in your legs that are only present when you are at rest
  • Relief when you move or stretch your legs
  • Symptoms that get worse in the evening or at nighât
  • Uncontrollable twitching or kickingâ

Restless leg symptoms usually happen in your legs or feet. They can also affect your arms in rare cases. The symptoms usually affect both sides of your body equally.â

Many people describe restless legs syndrome feelings as:

  • Aching
  • Pullingâ
  • Throbbingâ

The sensations tend to affect your actual leg tissue and not the surface of your skin. Your symptoms may lessen sometimes and feel much more intense other times. Diet may be a factor in your symptoms being better or worse.

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome is often considered to be a condition of the nervous system associated with an overwhelming urge to move the legs. Sufferers often describe the urge as a creeping sensation that begins in the feet, calves and thighs, sometimes accompanied by involuntary jerks, numbness and pins and needles.

Its thought to sometimes worsen at night and, as a result, can lead to poor sleep patterns. Unfortunately, primary Restless Leg Syndrome is known as an idiopathic condition, which means it can often have no direct cause. Although genetics are thought to play a role as around 40% of primary Restless Leg sufferers have a family history of the condition.

Its also twice as likely to affect women as men as it is a frequent symptom experienced during pregnancy.

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