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Are Restless Leg Syndrome and Venous Insufficiency Related?

Are Restless Leg Syndrome and Venous Insufficiency Related?

Posted on December 14, 2015 by Dr. Stephen Rivard

stifflegs.jpgRestless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, affects about 10-15% of people in the United States. Those who suffer from this condition often feel a strong urge to move their legs, accompanied by pulling, tingling, and crawling sensations. Patients often report symptoms worsening with age. 

RLS can interfere with sleep due to the constant need to reposition and move as well, so sufferers constantly feel fatigued. This can take a toll on personal lives if the fatigue is severe enough, causing difficulty concentrating, depression, and other medical problems.

In milder cases, symptoms only occur when a person doesn’t move their legs for long periods of time, but more serious cases do arise. There are two types of RLS. The first runs in families, begins before age 45, and worsens with age. The second type is not hereditary and typically begins after age 45. Symptoms begin suddenly and symptoms remain stable. 


Causes and Triggers of RLS

Scientists have not yet agreed upon an exact cause, but several different factors often seem to be involved:

    • Genetic predisposition
    • Intake of stimulants
    • Venous Insufficiency
    • Medication like anti-depressants, antihistamines, and calcium channel blockers
    • Other conditions like diabetes, iron deficiency, or pregnancy
    • Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders

There is a lot of overlap between the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome  and vein disease. Recent research published in the journal, Dermatologic Surgery, reported that about 22% of patients with RLS also suffer from venous insufficiency.

Venous insufficiency and varicose veins develop for many different reasons, but arise when vein valves stop functioning. This causes blood to pool in the leg, forming painful and unsightly varicose veins. Like Restless Leg Syndrome, vein disease often becomes more pronounced with age but can also develop into very serious issues like blood clots and leg ulcers.

Many who experience RLS seek out Venous and Lymphatic doctors for help.  Although there is no specific agreed-upon treatment for RLS, many Venous and Lymphatic physicians have found that suggesting the use of compression stockings helps alleviate symptoms. If it is clear that a patient has both RLS and venous insufficiency, treatment of their venous insufficiency can provide immediate and long-term relief from both ailments.


Our Philosophy. Find a Board Certified Venous and Lymphatic Doctor.

At Illinois Vein Specialists, we care just as much about the medicine and the specialized practice of Phlebology (now known as Venous and Lymphatic Disease) as we do our patients. That is why we focus only on treating varicose and spider veins and provide the most advanced and effective treatments available today.  We treat patients from Buffalo Grove, Cary, Elgin, Algonquin, Palatine, Vernon Hills, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Lake Zurich, Fox River Grove, Mundelein, Grayslake, Wauconda, Chicago, and all areas of Barrington, Illinois. We understand that when you choose a doctor you want to go to someone you know, like and trust, and honestly so do we. We know that patients come to us most often from satisfied patient referrals, but we encourage you to do your own homework and ask around. In the end no matter where you live or who you decide to have treat your varicose or spider veins find someone who focuses only on diagnosing and treating varicose and spider veins -- find a Board Certified Venous and Lymphatic Disease Doctor (formerly known as Phlebology).

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Tagged venous insufficiency, restless leg syndrome, compression stockings, Vein Disease


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