Restless Leg Syndrome
Improvement of RLS symptoms when venous reflux present
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) affects 5-15% of American adults with women twice as likely affected. This poorly understood disorder is characterized by an urge to move the legs to relieve discomfort. Most patients describe the leg sensations as heebie-jeebies or antsy and frequently can not describe the nature of the feeling. 30% of the sensations are considered painful. Symptoms of RLS are typically worse in the evening, while relaxing, lying or reclining and frequently infer with sleep, causing chronic sleep deprivation and its associated psychological or cognitive impairments.
The etiology of RLS is still a mystery, however recent studies suggest that when patients have RLS and venous reflux documented on ultrasound, that treating the venous reflux by a vein specialist had an 89% improvement in RLS symptoms!
The philosophy is that with venous reflux is present, blood pools in the leg, especially at the end of the day. Since the only “pump” in the legs are the leg muscles, it’s thought that perhaps, the leg muscles contract involuntarily, hence become restless, to help pump the blood out of the distended veins.