Restless Legs Syndrome
While no one really knows what causesRLS it is clear that it tends to run in families in about 25 to 75% of cases.Hereditary RLS usually starts at a young age and rate of deterioration is then slow.
RLS affects around 10 to 15% of thepopulation. It is a neurological disorder thought to be related toabnormalities in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that help regulate musclemovements or in the part of the central nervous system that controls automaticmovements.
Stress, fatigue and many psychiatricconditions play a larger part in RLS. Inthe case of secondary RLS there are a number of physical causes such asdiabetes, anaemia (low haemoglobin levels) and a condition called PeripheralNeuropathy which involves damage to the nerves in the arms and legs. This inturn causes pain numbness and tingling.Related to RLS is a condition called PLMS (periodic limb movements of sleep) previously called Myoclonus.
Other lifestyle factors play a part inRLS such as caffeine consumption, and side effects arising from the use of anticonvulsant drugs eg methsuximide, phenytoin, anti-depressant drugs such asamiptriptyline, paroxetine, beta blockers, H2 blockers, lithium andneuroleptics (antipsychotics). Also implicated are withdrawal symptoms fromvasodilator drugs, sedatives or imopramine.
RLS is also linked to cigarette smokingas well as nutritional deficiencies especially lack of iron, magnesium and B12. It is linked to severekidney disease especially where dialysis is involved, amoloidosis, Lymedisease, damage to the spinal nerves, rheumatoid arthritis, sjogren syndromeand uremia which is kidney failure due to build up of toxins in the body.Linked to Parkinson Disease, stomach surgery, chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease, tumours and varicose veins. hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, acuteintermittent porphyria (rare), fragments of cholesterol in the blood vesselsand fibromyalgia.