Treating Varicose Veins: an Overlooked Cure for RLS

Dr. Thomas Wright Treating Varicose Veins: an Overlooked Cure for RLS

July 6, 2011 – O’Fallon, MO Community News — The cause of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is still largely unknown, but it appears to have multiple contributing factors. Symptoms of RLS include abnormal sensations of creepiness which are only relieved by moving the legs, irresistible urges to move the legs, persistent leg movements during sleep, sleep difficulty, tingling, burning, aching, and numbness. Vein problems such as varicose veins and other related conditions of venous insufficiency can also cause very similar symptoms. Recent medical research shows that 22 percent of patients with RLS also have venous insufficiency.

Most RLS is treated with medications that work on dopamine receptors such as Mirapex. Approximately 80 percent of patients have long lasting relief of symptoms by taking a medication everyday such as Mirapex or similar medications. However, a small percentage has worsening of their symptoms. There can be other side effects related to the medication such as: blood pressure dropping upon standing, drowsiness, hallucinations, voluntary movement difficulties, double vision, and compulsive behaviors. Most patients would much rather have a single intervention that could relieve their symptoms for the rest of their lives.

Venous insufficiency, which is caused by back flow in the veins in the legs, is also a common cause of restlessness in the legs. Vein problems happen in more than 25 percent of the population. Symptoms such as swelling, tenderness, restlessness, and fatigue in the legs are often caused by vein disease. Many people with these symptoms are unaware they are caused by venous circulation problems. Venous insufficiency can be well treated with a laser to close the backward flowing veins. New medical research has shown that the treatment of venous insufficiency can cure the symptoms of RLS. In fact in patient with RLS and venous insufficiency, 98 percent had relief of their symptoms of RLS by treating their venous insufficiency, and in 80 percent of patients the relief was long term. In light of this new information, it makes sense for anyone who has symptoms of restlessness in their legs to be evaluated for venous insufficiency with a simple ultrasound test. If found the treatment of venous insufficiency has the best chance of complete relief of symptoms.

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