Restless Legs Syndrome is a common sleep disorder, which affects roughly 1 in 10 adults. Characterized by an uncomfortable and sometimes painful, itching or prickling in the legs and an uncontrollable lust to the legs, Restless Legs Syndrome is one of the most common causes of insomnia.
He is generally regarded as a problem when you reach the age of fifty and usually get worse as we get older is. It is also the "poor relation" of sleep disorders and unlike insomnia, sleep apnea or narcolepsy, all studying in medical school and fairly well understood by doctors, Restless Legs Syndrome is relatively little attention. One study even goes so far as to suggest that in no less than 3 out of 4 cases the condition is diagnosed, even when the patient presents with all the symptoms of the disease.
This lack of focus on the problem, and the general acceptance of it as a problem of middle-aged and elderly, perhaps hides the real extent of the problem and in particular masks the fact that Restless Legs Syndrome May and play an important part in Lives of our children.
For many years now children have been complaining of symptoms during the night, which we have so easily brushed from growing pains. In addition, our children are often unable to make still more than a few minutes, and we simply those on normal childhood hyperactivity. The truth is, however, that a significant number of our children are indeed suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome.
The cause of Restless Legs Syndrome remains something of a mystery, although a good picture of the disorder is now beginning to appear and two elements of this picture should be seen as a wake-up call to the medical profession.
The first element in the picture is that of a genetic basis for Restless Legs Syndrome. It is now recognized that this condition runs in families with a study showing that as many of half of all cases show a family history. This is again enforced by the recent chromosome studies to identify a specific gene, which is probably an important role in susceptibility for Restless Legs Syndrome. Perhaps most important of all, however, a report published by the Mayo Clinic at the end of last year which showed that in a study involving more than 500 children nearly three-quarters of people with Restless Legs Syndrome had a family history of the disease.
The second element in the picture is that of an iron deficiency in the hospital. A series of studies by respected institutions such as John Hopkins University, have shown that low levels of iron are common in cases of Restless Legs Syndrome. It is no wonder that more than eighty percent of children in the Mayo Clinic study with Restless Legs Syndrome also showed low iron levels.
So what does all this mean? Well, it's easy. If your child is having trouble sleeping and complaining of discomfort at night, especially in the legs, perhaps there is a little more to make sure that only growing pains. Likewise, if your child is constantly running around or jumping up and down, then perhaps discomfort in the legs, rather than hyperactivity is the cause.
Growing pains are normal in children, as well as periods of excessive activity, and the odd night here and there is certainly nothing to fear. But if your child's growing pains appear night after night, then there is a good possibility that they are not growing pains at all, but are the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome.
Copyright 2005 Donald Saunders
Donald Saunders is the author of a number of health related publications including:
"How To Get A Good Night's Sleep - Simple Solutions To Help You Rest"
Pick up your free copy today and discover the natural cure for insomnia or visit our website to learn more about restless leg syndrome
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