Restless leg syndrome is a common condition that affects between 7-10% of Americans. At Maryland Cardiology Associates, the team of expert cardiologists boasts years of experience diagnosing and treating restless leg syndrome. To make an appointment at the practice in Greenbelt, Maryland, call the office to speak with a friendly member of the administrative staff or click the online booking tool.

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What is restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome causes a persistent, uncomfortable urge to move your legs. It can occur at any time, but it’s especially common in the evenings when you’re sitting or lying down.

Without early intervention and treatment, restless leg syndrome can prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Fortunately, healthy lifestyle changes and self-care measures are often enough to provide lasting relief.

What are the symptoms of restless leg syndrome?

Common symptoms of restless leg syndrome include:

  • Nighttime leg twitching
  • Abnormal or unpleasant sensations in the legs or feet
  • Sensations that stop with movement like stretching or walking
  • Uncomfortable sensations that occur during rest

The sensations caused by restless leg syndrome affect everyone differently. Some people describe them as itchy or aching, while others describe them as throbbing or electric.

When should I visit a doctor about restless leg syndrome?

Almost everyone experiences uncomfortable limb sensations from time to time, but if your symptoms persist or they interfere with your ability to work or exercise, it’s important to seek professional medical help. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can take action to feel better.

Who is at risk of restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome affects people of all ages and genders, but several factors may increase your risk, including:

  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Iron deficiency
  • Kidney failure
  • Spinal cord conditions
  • Pregnancy

You’re also more likely to experience restless leg syndrome if the condition runs in your family. Researchers have identified areas on the chromosomes where genes that cause restless leg syndrome are present.

How is restless leg syndrome diagnosed?

To diagnose restless leg syndrome, your provider at Maryland Cardiology Associates conducts a physical and neurological exam. Then, they ask you a series of questions, including if your symptoms worsen at night, if you have any underlying medical conditions, and if your symptoms are relieved by getting up and moving around.

Afterward, your provider orders lab tests to look for nutritional or vitamin deficiencies. If these measures don’t provide enough information, they might refer you to a specialist for an overnight sleep study.

How is restless leg syndrome treated?

Treatment of restless leg syndrome typically involves a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medication. For example, you might benefit from regular exercise, ice and heat therapy, and avoiding beverages with caffeine.

Some of the medications used to manage restless leg syndrome include muscle relaxants, opioids, and drugs that affect the calcium channels.

To further explore treatment for restless leg syndrome, make an appointment at Maryland Cardiology Associates by calling the office to speak with a friendly member of the administrative staff or by clicking the online booking tool today.