Restless Leg Syndrome May Indicate Other Problems

December 13, 2009
Tami Griffith

Do you go to bed at night and experience the sensation that you need to constantly be moving your legs? You could be suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome is a neurological movement disorder. The individual experiences the urge to move their legs, most notable at night, approximately 15-30 minutes after retiring to bed. They experience a crawling, itching, creeping sensation of the lower extremities, usually below the knees and usually bilaterally. The sensations tend to decrease with activity.

What causes RLS?

Some studies indicate there is a problem with the brain in regards to the metabolism of dopamine. There appears to be a dysfunction of the Hypothalamic dopaminergic cells called Hypocretins. These are a source of spinal cord dopamine. Hypocretins are hypothalamic transmitters that control the sleep-wake cycle, and arousal.

Individuals with RLS have been found to have an increase in Hypocretins in the Cerebral spinal fluid. This would explain why individuals with RLS tend to be in a constant state of movement with their legs. Individuals with Narcolepsy — the sleeping disorder — have been found to have low levels of Hypocretins. More…