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DR GARETH: Casebook A-Z: R is for Restless Legs.

Byline: DR GARETH SMITH

NO ONE knows exactly why restless leg syndrome occurs.

Sufferers complain of discomfort and uncontrollable urges to move their leg.

For some, these sensations may be the result of nerve damage.

The sensations may also be caused by decreased blood flow through some vessels.

These leg movements often occur after a person has gone to bed.

Restless leg syndrome tends to run in families.

In a recent study of identical twins with restless leg syndrome, 10 out of 12 pairs reported having the syndrome.

It is also more common in people over 40, those who are under a lot of stress, pregnant women, people with disorders of nerves that supply the muscles and skin, people with poor circulation and those with anaemia or a low red blood cell count.

The anaemia is often caused by a low level of iron or folic acid.

Some people get relief from: relaxation techniques, yoga or meditation, stress management, acupressure, walking or stretching, a hot or cold bath, hot or cold packs and massage.

Certain medications, such as levodopa/carbidopa or tranquilisers such as clonazepam or lorazepam, can be helpful.

Occasionally, low doses of narcotic pain medications, such as codeine, can help
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 20, 2005
Words:202
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