If you've been to the doctor for pain, tingling, or burning in your legs, it could be restless leg syndrome. In this edition of Healthy Living, YNN's Marcie Fraser explains the disease that effects millions of Americans.
"A creepy, crawly sensation, pulling, pins and needles, burning, the list goes on," said Dr. Ken Schwartz.
There are many symptoms, resulting in sleepless nights.
“There are different degrees, mild, moderate and severe. The mild kind you might not hear about it because the patient may not even recognize it. As it gets more significant, it really bothers them. They rub their legs and try to get to sleep, it keeps them up, they walk around, the symptoms go away but they come back," explained Dr. Schwartz.
As we age, it occurs more often. It effects more women than men, and not much is known about the cause. However, there are known factors associated with the syndrome.
Dr. Schwartz said, "Usually genetic but it can be caused by chronic renal failure or iron deficiency anemia, so if you diagnosed with it, you should always be checked for those two things."
It's not uncommon that RLS can go unnoticed. It is often found when doctors are performing sleep studies looking for conditions like sleep apnea.
"The specialist who reads the test and say, by the way, the patients legs are moving a lot. They call it PLM, periodic limb movement, and if they are severe enough or numerous enough it can be restless leg syndrome," noted Dr. Schwartz.
Medications that effect dopamine in the brain have been known to minimize the effects of the syndrome.
"Very unique is a form of Gabapentin, Gabapentin is the active ingredient that people hear about in Neurontin," Dr. Schwartz. "One of the drug companies has come out with a one a day called Horizant and that is taken in the evening around 5 PM and that has shown exceptional promise."