Venous insufficiency not only causes varicose veins, it can be the underlying cause for many other conditions, including restless legs syndrome. When patients present with lower extremity symptoms, physicians often only check for some of the obvious explanations. They do not look for the possibility that venous reflux is the underlying cause of their patient’s symptoms. Unfortunately there is a large percentage of people with venous disease that aren’t getting the evaluation or treatment they need.
It is estimated that 10-15% of the population has Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Restless legs syndrome is believed to be associated with a number of factors including iron deficiency and peripheral neuropathy. Recent medical research has found that a great number of patients with restless legs have venous insufficiency as the cause.
Symptoms may vary from person to person but often include burning, tingling, cramping, aching, itchiness, creeping sensations and the uncontrollable urge to move the legs. It is generally worse at night, when laying down and is usually relieved by movement or walking. Most patients with superficial venous insufficiency will have resolution of their restless legs syndrome after successful vein treatment.
Many studies have shown that the treatment of venous insufficiency can relieve symptoms of restless legs syndrome. According to a study in the journal “Phlebology,” patients with restless legs syndrome and venous insufficiency, more than 80% of patients experienced long term relief by treating their venous insufficiency.
Before committing a patient with restless legs syndrome to long-term medications and their potential side effects, the patient should be evaluated for venous insufficiency as a possible cause. Correction of venous reflux will provide most patients with long-term and likely permanent relief.
Correctly diagnosing vein disease involves a review of the patient’s history, a physical examination, and a duplex ultrasound of the venous system. It’s important to have the ultrasound performed at a specialized vein center, because unlike regular imaging centers, our sonographers’ protocol specifically looks for venous reflux.
Once venous insufficiency has been correctly identified, a variety of conservative treatment methods may be utilized as an initial treatment approach. These may include elevating the legs when possible, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, wearing compression stockings and being active. If these methods are not successful, a variety of minimally invasive office procedures might be recommended such as EVLA or sclerotherapy.
We have the experience and knowledge at Bowers Vein Institute to diagnose and treat your Restless Legs Syndrome. Call us today for your free screening!
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Vein Specialist William Bowers, MD,FACS, RPVI, RPhS is the founder and Medical Director of Bowers Vein Institute in Pinellas Park, Florida. The Bowers Vein Institute is a cutting edge, state-of-the-art center that provides comprehensive care for patients with reticular, spider, varicose veins, and other venous diseases. The facility offers the latest in minimally invasive procedures that effectively eradicate veins without the need for traditional surgery. Above all else, the team at Bowers Vein Institute puts patient care first. This not only means ensuring that patients receive the effective vein treatment they need, it also entails providing a comfortable, friendly, and professional environment for each and every patient. The staff takes pride in adhering to these extremely high standards of patient care.