How is RLS treated?

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

How is RLS treated? For many people with RLS, prevention is the first step towards managing symptoms. People may work with their health care professional to develop a variety of lifestyle changes and activities to reduce symptoms. This can include decreasing caffeine, alcohol and tobacco intake; taking iron supplements; maintaining a regular sleep pattern; developing an exercise routine; taking a hot bath; massaging the legs or using a heating pad or ice pack. For patients who are unable to find symptom relief through lifestyle changes, medical treatments are available. Can RLS lead to additional health problems? The symptoms of RLS can disturb your sleep, which can lead to depression, mood swings, or other health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Published research also suggests RLS may contribute to the risk of coronary artery disease and cardiovascular disease, particularly in people with greater frequency or severity of RLS symptoms and the elderly. If you think you have RLS, talk to your heath care professional to learn more about how you can manage your symptoms. Can I have RLS in other parts of my body (other than my legs)? Yes, while RLS often affects the lower legs, it can also occur in the feet, thighs, chest, and arms. Is it possible for children to have RLS? Yes. While RLS often affects adults, it is possible for children to experience the condition as well. Can RLS run in families/be hereditary? RLS does run in families. In fact, 63 percent of people with RLS report having at least one family member with the condition. And in 2007, researchers published studies in The New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Genetics on the discovery of the first gene variant that contributes substantially to the risk of RLS. Can RLS impact my daily activities? RLS symptoms are reported to have a significant impact on sleep, in that they cause a majority of individuals with RLS to have difficulty falling asleep and/or to wake up three or more times per night. As a direct result, patients may experience daytime sleepiness, mood disturbance, and an inability to perform daily activities.