Capitol Vein Blog

Monday, May 9, 2011

Can Restless Leg Syndrome be Cured?

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a very common and frustrating condition for many patients. The symptoms of RLS are often characterized as:

    Symptoms that are worse at night and are absent or negligible in the morning;
    A strong and often overwhelming need or urge to move the affected limb(s), often associated with tingling or burning;
    Sensory symptoms that are triggered by rest, relaxation, or sleep; and
    Sensory symptoms that are relieved by movement. The symptoms improve as long as that movement continues.

While the possible causes of RLS are many, one common cause that is often overlooked is venous insufficiency. This may be apparent if varicose veins are visible, but some patients have vein reflux without visible varicose veins. Treatment is highly effective in eliminating the symptoms of RLS and even making the medications Mirapex and Requip unnecessary.

The diagnosis of vein reflux is made with venous ultrasound. The normal flow of blood in the leg veins goes from bottom to top, so when reflux is present, we see reversed flow due to the force of gravity pushing downwards. If backflow is found, then treating the veins, normalizing overall venous flow has shown to markedly reduce the symptoms of RLS.

One of my patients today illustrates just this case. This wonderful 75-year-old woman who had long standing symptoms of RLS required Mirapex to sleep restfully, but she had severe itching and a general dislike of the medicine. Her ultrasound suggested that venous disease was the primary cause of her problems. Once I treated her varicose veins with VNUS Closure and finished up with sclerotherapy, her symptoms fully resolved, now off her medication and thrilled with the results.

Her case is by no means unique. We've seen numerous patients who have derived similar benefit from vein treatment so the overall health and quality of life are improved. Remember that venous disease is a commonly unrecognized cause of RLS. Treatment is highly effective and usually covered by insurance.


Post a Comment