Get The Facts: Restless Leg Syndrome and Venous Disease

Pain in the legs; an uncomfortable, itchy feeling; leg cramps—these are just a few of the many unpleasant, unrelenting symptoms restless leg syndrome (RLS) patients experience. This sleep disorder has a very real impact on people, including impeding their sleep, causing stress, and even contributing to other health conditions. There are many possible causes of RLS, and one of those may be venous disease.

What is Venous Disease

Venous disease is a term referring to chronic conditions related to, or caused by, diseased or abnormal veins. These conditions include varicose veins, leg swelling and pain, vascular malformations, and more. Varicose veins, one of the most common venous diseases, is caused when valves in the leg veins malfunction, losing their ability to maintain proper blood flow. This causes blood to start pooling in the veins, so they bulge out.


Venous Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome

Although there are a number of possible causes of RLS, many patients who have been diagnosed with RLS also have symptoms of venous disease, including varicose veins. Both RLS and venous disease cause pain, discomfort, and heaviness in the legs, which can cause them to feel restless and decrease the patient’s quality of sleep. Unfortunately, many doctors overlook vein disease as a cause of RLS. This is because symptoms of vein diseases aren’t always obvious, and they don’t always include visible leg swelling or varicose veins. Aching, itching, burning, heaviness, and other uncomfortable sensations may be experienced as part of venous disease, but the condition could go misdiagnosed without visible vein symptoms.


Treatment of Venous Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome

Treatment for venous disease and RLS depends on the level of severity of the patient’s symptoms. Typically, the doctor will help the patient manage their RLS symptoms by encouraging them to change their sleeping and eating patterns while making a few lifestyle changes, including exercising and eliminating alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Medications like anticonvulsants and pain relievers are sometimes prescribed in more serious cases. But many patients find their RLS symptoms improve after beginning treatment for vein disease, which includes regular exercise, use of graduated compression hose, leg elevation, weight management, and more. Some patients benefit from minimally invasive vascular surgery procedures to correct the underlying vein problem.

The physicians at Vein Specialists of Georgia have been treating patients with venous disease in Coweta County and the surrounding areas for over 30 years. If you have experienced symptoms of restless leg syndrome and have not found relief, or if you suspect you may have vein disease, call us at 404-524-0095 to schedule an appointment.

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