Restless Leg Syndrome: What Triggers This Disorder?
Restless Leg Syndrome: What Triggers This Disorder?

Restless leg syndrome may be genetic in some cases but in others it may be triggered by certain lifestyle habits as well.

Written by Kinkini Gupta |Updated : September 18, 2023 10:12 PM IST

Do you ever suddenly feel uncomfortable in your legs? The sensations in your legs may resemble itchiness or kicking or restless or crawling because of which you feel like constantly moving your legs. This is known as ‘restless leg syndrome’ and yes it is a legitimate medical disorder. At times, you may be unable to sleep or feel comfortable in any sleep positions because of it.

Mayo Clinic has defined restless leg syndrome as a neurological sleep and movement disorder. The main symptoms of it includes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs because of kicking, itching or crawling sensations that people feel in the legs. It is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease.

So, What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome Or RLS?

Here are some factors:

Genetics: RLS may be passed down to children genetically. In this case it is pretty hard to avoid it. If the condition begins before a person hit 40, it may be genetic.

Imbalances of dopamine: Our brain secretes dopamine. This hormone helps our body function normally and its secretion also means that our brain function is normal too. But, sometimes when the pathways that send the signal to the brain are disrupted, the body could face involuntary movements at night. AT night-time, the dopamine levels wear off. This is when the symptoms of RLS gets triggered.

May happen to pregnant women: Restless Leg Syndrome may also happen to pregnant women. According to a study published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, it impacts almost 20 per cent of all pregnant women. This disorder may appear in the third trimester but it will automatically go away right after the baby is born.

Iron deficiency: One of the reasons of RLS is deficiency in iron in the brain. Iron plays a major role in the production of dopamine in our brain but when that stops of slows down it may affect its function. According to a study published in the Journal Sleep Medicine, a deficiency in iron may exacerbate the symptoms of restless leg syndrome because of this reason.

What May Be The Triggers Of This Disorder?

The triggers of this disorder is mostly the problems mentioned above like for instance, pregnancy, deficiency in iron or imbalance of dopamine or genetic factors. But, there are some other triggers that also play a role in restless leg syndrome like, certain medications, sitting still for a long time, consuming excess amounts of caffeine or consuming alcohol.

It is never a good idea to take stimulants such as caffeine too close to bedtime. It will not only hinder your capability to sleep but also will make you feel fidgety, restless and will increase your alertness unnecessarily. Alcohol can also do the same thing to you. It increases your alertness and might make you restless thereby triggering this syndrome.

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