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Restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition characterised by unpleasant, jittery sensations in the muscles of the legs. The sensations are usually experienced at night. Restless legs can cause discomfort, distress and sleep interruption. Medication may help to control RLS. The symptoms of RLS can also be prevented or reduced through lifestyle modification.

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What are the symptoms?

The classic symptoms of RLS include tingling, tickling, aching or jittery feelings in the lower limbs. Temporary relief is generally obtained by movements such as walking. Most people with restless legs experience the sensations most in bed at night, but the symptoms may also occur during the daytime.

How to prevent and treat RLS?

What causes RLS is unknown. However, RLS has been associated with certain other factors (e.g. age, hereditary factors, varicose veins, lifestyle choices), which if treated, bring about an improvement. For example, RLS symptoms can to some extent be prevented by not smoking, reducing coffee and alcohol consumption and regular exercise. If the symptoms are severe or bothersome, you should consult a doctor. There are also food supplements and herbal remedies available that improve circulation in the legs.

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