So very little has been know about restless leg syndrome (RLS) and many people don't realize how debilitating this disease can be. The RLS Foundation is leading the charge to change the name of Willis-Ekbom disease in an effort to give this disease credibility as a neurological movement disorder, which is related to Parkinson's disease. If you, a family member, or friend are currently suffering from this disorder it may be beneficial to see a neurologist to assess the need for treatment. You also may need to see a sleep specialist for a definitive diagnosis.
Willis-Ekbom disease involves the neurotransmitter dopamine. Parkinson's disease also has a dopamine deficit due to the part of the brain creating dopamine is no longer manufacturing dopamine. With Willis-Ekbom disease the dopamine transport system is faulty. Characteristics of Willis-Ekbom disease are typically sensations in the feet and legs that are described as crawling, pins and needles, numbness, shooting pain, burning pain in feet, tickling and others. Willis-Ekbom disease sufferes may experience sensations that extend beyond the feet and legs and may include arms, hands, trunk, and head. The sensations that people experience typically begin in the evening when at rest, and last until 2:00 am to 3:00 am. The only relief available is to move the legs and other extremities if involved, and provide temporary relief. This disease is quite debilitating due to impaired sleep cycles, daytime sleepiness, chronic pain in affected extremites, and the need to move during the day to relieve the unpleasant sensations. Some people experience Willis-Ekbom disease symptoms are not only in their legs and feet. In addition, for severe cases the arms, hands, trunk, and head can also be involved.
There are several Web sites that offer more information:
1. The National Institutes of Health, the government agency, has an excellent Web site that provide additional reading. You can access the Web site by on http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm
2. Another good site is the RLS Foundation at http://www.rls.org This site provides online support group and information, including up to date research on Willis-Ekbom disease.
This is a short blog to begin educating people about this difficult disease. I plan to write more about Willis-Ekbom disease tomorrow. I would like to share my own experiences with this difficult disease that has a rather poor prognosis of continued exacerbations and progression.
To be continued . . .
P.S. The top picture is a beautiful spider plant, and this plant to the right is a lovely maidenhair fern. I just thought I would share more of my garden!