Friday, December 10, 2010

Restless Legs in Pregnancy Predict Later RLS

A sleep disorder that may appear during pregnancy could be the sign of things to come later in life. Nearly a quarter of women who experience restless leg syndrome while pregnant may have chronic symptoms when they are older. Short-term symptoms may also reappear in future pregnancies.

People with restless leg syndrome have the strong urge to move their legs, paired with a sensation of burning, prickling, itching or tingling. These symptoms tend to flare up at night, making it difficult to sleep. Older adults tend to get restless leg syndrome, as the symptoms progress with age.

A recent study about restless leg syndrome involved about 200 women. Only 74 reported restless leg syndrome during pregnancy. Six and a half years later, the women responded to questions about later symptoms, pregnancies and other diseases.

Results show 18 of the 74 women who had restless leg syndrome during pregnancy saw the symptoms reappear. Compared to women who did not have the disorder during pregnancy, the group was four times more likely to have the condition again. About 60 percent of the women who had restless leg syndrome reported the symptoms again in future pregnancies.

The study appears to have one notable shortcoming due to the nature of restless leg syndrome. The condition is difficult to diagnose, so researchers had to rely on the patients self-diagnosis of the symptoms.

While you can take medication to reduce the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, changing your lifestyle may be just as effective. Start exercising and reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco to help restless legs syndrome. The AASM also reports activities like walking, soaking in a hot tub and massaging the legs may help when symptoms flare up.

Image by jamelah e.

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