Restless Leg Syndrome
What is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)? RLS affects 10-15% of the general population. It is an irresistible urge to move one’s body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations. It most commonly affects the legs. Moving the affected body part modulates the sensations, providing temporary relief.
What are varicose veins? Varicose veins are the blue, ropey veins that have become enlarged and lost their ability to effectively transport blood back to the heart due to venous insufficiency.
What is the relationship between varicose veins and RLS?Healthy veins return blood to the heart. When patients experience vein failure, blood begins to flow backwards toward the feet, causing blood to pool in these unhealthy veins. This can lead to a buildup of toxic metabolic waste, which can cause aching, throbbing, cramping, fatigue and symptoms of RLS.
What treatments are available for RLS? Currently most RLS patients are being treated with various medications. However, recent studies have shown that venous insufficiency should be ruled out in all RLS patients before initiation or continuation of drug therapy. This is done through ultrasound imaging. If unhealthy veins are found, varicose vein therapy should be administered:
- Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) — Usingthe CoolTouch CTEV™ Laser System, a laser fiber is inserted into the vein through a small incision and, once turned on, heats the inside of the vein to seal it shut. The procedure can typically be performed in 45 minutes and the CoolTouch® Laser System offers the most comfortable laser treatment available with rapid relief of symptoms, no downtime, less bruising than traditional laser treatment, and minimal, if any, scarring.
- Sclerotherapy — During sclerotherapy, your physician injects a chemical into your varicose veins.The chemical irritates and scars your veins from the inside out so your abnormal veins can then no longer fill with blood.
Blood that would normally return to the heart through these veins returns to the heart through other veins. Your body will eventually absorb the veins that received the injection.
Recent Studies have shown that RLS patients have seen a dramatic drop or elimination of their symptoms through varicose vein therapy.
Mark Schwartz, MD, FACS, RPVI is the Medical Director of North Shore Vein Center of Long Island. He is a Board Certified General and Vascular Surgeon and the only physician in the area trained to use the CoolTouch CTEV 1320nm laser.
Call to schedule your FREE Vein Screening: (516) 874-5516Pictures courtesy of the Society of Vascular Surgery (VascularWeb.org) and Society of Interventional Radiology (SIRweb.org).