Sleep Disorders And Leg Movement

Sleep Disorders and Leg Movement
Fifteen years ago, I ​ fractured my ankle. it​ required surgery, the insertion of​ one metal plate and four pins. My leg was placed in​ a​ cast and I ​ was told to​ keep the leg suspended for at​ least 2 months. Despite the hospital noise and light, I ​ was able to​ sleep. But what I ​ can never forget is​ that my dreams were filled with running episodes and disordered leg movements —me running up and down hills, even falling on the uneven grassy surface. I ​ could feel my foot jamming into a​ hole and the movement of​ the fall would wake me up. Then I ​ would lie in​ bed feeling silly because the cast was so stiff that I ​ could not even wriggle my toes.
I have since discovered that leg movements in​ sleep are common experiences. They are normal spasms that occur just before we fall asleep. However, there are other disruptive leg movements that are symptoms of​ sleep disorder syndromes. People with Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, for example, are wakened by involuntary rhythmic movements of​ the limbs during sleep. Sometimes these take the form of​ twitching in​ toes and ankles; other times, they involve more flailing and exaggerated movements of​ the arms and legs. But the movements come in​ clusters, some lasting a​ few minutes, others more than an hour. in​ effect, the movements are jerky and persistent enough to​ disrupt sleep and cause sleep deprivation.
About 80% of​ people with periodic leg movement sleep disorder also experience the Restless Leg Syndrome, a​ condition that affects about 10% of​ the adult population in​ North America and Europe. Unlike the periodic limb movement disorder, restless legs are most often experienced as​ insects crawling inside the legs, a​ sensation which leads to​ an urge to​ stand up and move around. You can be in​ bed, trying to​ sleep, but your limbs become prickly or​ tingly and this sensation can only be relieved by physically getting up and moving around. Needless to​ say, sleeping when you have this syndrome is​ next to​ impossible.
Because our knowledge of​ these disorders is​ limited the exact causes of​ these conditions are still unknown, treatment is​ often limited as​ well. Research, however is​ ongoing and much progress has been made in​ the last 5 years to​ define the nature and manifestations of​ these disorders. Here, for example, are some new expressions of​ these disorders uncovered by research.
1. Both restless leg syndrome and periodic leg movements are common in​ children with hyperactivity attention deficit disorder.
2. Both conditions seem to​ be more prevalent in​ the older adult female population.
3. Neurophysiological studies also indicate that restless leg syndrome is​ linked to​ irregularities in​ the spinal cord and brain.
4. Other studies have shown a​ correlation between the disorders and reduced iron concentrations in​ some brain regions.
5. Periodic Leg Movement Sleep Disorder seems to​ be linked to​ predisposing factors such as​ diabetes, use of​ antidepressants, kidney disease, metabolic disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and circulatory problems.
6. A great deal of​ attention is​ also focused on the genetic component of​ both disorders. According to​ the National Sleep Foundation, restless leg syndrome occurs 3 to​ 5 times more frequently in​ first degree relatives of​ people with the same syndrome than in​ people without the syndrome. This finding definitely suggests a​ strong hereditary component to​ the sleep disorder.
If you do experience these leg movement symptoms that chronically deprive you of​ sleep, what can you do?
1. Some people experience mild cases of​ these disorders and seem to​ be able to​ function quite well without medical supervision. Consult your physician about your situation if​ it​ regularly deprives you of​ sleep and is​ causing inattentive or​ careless daytime responses that require medical attention. Your physician may be able to​ prescribe medication that can help you with the problems. a​ study sponsored by Eli Lilly suggests that a​ ​Drug​ used to​ treat Parkinson’s disease, may be effective in​ the treatment of​ restless leg syndrome and periodic leg movement disorder.
2. Use of​ electric nerve stimulation therapy applied to​ an area in​ the feet or​ legs seems to​ be helpful as​ well. This therapy is​ usually done 1530 minutes before bedtime.
3. Make use of​ home treatments for relaxation—such as​ meditation, yoga or​ massage.
4. Avoid using alcohol, caffeine or​ antidepressants as​ these may trigger episodes of​ leg movements.
5. Seek information and resources at​ your local Sleep Center here http//www. sleepcenters. org/

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