Parkinsons & Restless Leg Syndrome: Using Dopaminergic Medication
Because RLS is well-treated by medications that also treat PD, it is likely that some aspect of brain dopamine function is altered in RLS. However, unlike in PD, in which the deficit in substantia nigra dopamine-producing cells can be proven in many ways, no such abnormality has been shown in RLS. For example, studies show that DaTscan results are not abnormal in RLS.
Using dopaminergic medications to treat RLS however can be tricky. In some people they can lead to a phenomenon known as augmentation, in which long term use of dopaminergic medications can worsen the symptoms making them appear earlier in the day or migrating to the upper body in addition to the legs.
Restless Legs Syndrome Causes
Doctors donât know what causes most cases of restless legs syndrome, but your genes might play a role. Nearly half of the people with RLS also have a family member with the condition.
It might also be tied to:
- Chronic diseases. Certain long-term medical conditions include RLS symptoms, including iron deficiency, Parkinsonâs disease, kidney failure or renal disease, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy.
- Medications. Some drugs might make symptoms worse, including anti-nausea meds, antipsychotics, some antidepressants, and cold and allergy medications that have antihistamines.
- Pregnancy. Some women have RLS during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. Symptoms usually go away within a month after delivery.
- Lifestyle. A lack of sleep or another sleep disorder like apnea can trigger symptoms or make them worse. So can alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine use.
How Is Restless Leg Syndrome Treated
If you think you or your loved one may have restless leg syndrome, see your doctor or primary healthcare provider to confirm a;diagnosis. Beyond the dopamine medications available, there are other simple lifestyle changes that can help RLS. These changes include:
- Iron supplements for those with iron deficiency
- Regular bedtime routine, getting up and going to bed at the same time each day
- Do not nap during the day
- Exercise during the day, but not close to bedtime
- Avoid caffeinated drinks or alcohol before bedtime
As science continues to investigate the causes of RLS and it’s potential link to Parkinson’s Disease, it’s important to seek medical attention if you or a loved one are presenting symptoms. Catching most diseases early enough increases the likelihood that a treatment can be effective.;
Don’t Miss: How Long Can You Live With Parkinson’s Dementia
What Impact Does Dbs Surgery For Pd Have On Rls
The emergence of RLS after subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in patients with PD has been reported . Eleven of 195 patients with STN DBS reported new problematic symptoms of RLS after surgery. The mean reduction in antiparkinsonian medication was 74%. The authors suggested that reduction of anti-parkinsonian medication during STN DBS may unmask symptoms of RLS. However, a recent prospective study of 17 patients undergoing STN DBS identified 6 patients with RLS with a mean IRLSSG rating score of 23 preoperatively. Postoperative scores at 4 weeks and 6 months were significantly improved at 14.8 and 13.8 respectively. None of the patients developed RLS postoperatively .
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
There is significant overlap between some of the symptoms and treatments for RLS and attention deficit hyperactive disorder . Up to a quarter of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may also have RLS, sleep apnea, or PLMD. These conditions may actually contribute to inattentiveness and hyperactivity. The disorders have much in common, including poor sleep habits, twitching, and the need to get up suddenly and walk about frequently. Some evidence suggests that the link between the diseases may be a deficiency in the brain chemical dopamine.
Don’t Miss: How Long Can You Live With Parkinson’s Disease
What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms
Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.
Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal; and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.
Does Having Rls Increase The Risk Of Developing Pd
Since RLS affects as much as 4-10% of the US adult population, it is clear that the vast majority of those with RLS do not ever develop PD.
Despite this, it still might be the case that RLS increases the risk of subsequently developing PD. There have been many studies trying to figure this out with conflicting results. Some studies show that there is no increased risk and others show that having RLS confers about a two-fold increased risk of developing PD over the general population.
Read Also: Parkinson’s Awareness Color
Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms Causes & Treatments
Its estimated that restless leg syndrome affects more than one in 10 American adults every year . ;RLS is a condition characterized by uncomfortable feelings in your legs, giving you a strong urge to move them in order to find relief. Because symptoms tend to get worse overnight, RLS is associated with a higher risk for insomnia and daytime fatigue, plus increased use of sleep-aid medications, alcohol and caffeine.
Middle-aged women, including those going through or past menopause, tend to experience RLS more than any other population. Most people describe the symptoms of restless leg syndrome which can include;experiencing jittery sensations, tingling, burning and aching in one or both legs as more annoying than actually painful.;Some people equate the sensations associated with RLS as the feeling of bugs crawling up your leg. In other words, although its not very dangerous long term, RLS causes some downright unpleasant side effects.
The desire to quickly get RLS sensations to stop makes people twitch, jiggle or move their legs throughout the night, leading to poor sleep. The worst part is that moving the legs usually doesnt help RLS symptoms stay away for long they usually return pretty quickly, and the cycle continues.
What Other Drugs Will Affect Mirapex
Using Mirapex with other drugs that make you drowsy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
medicine to treat mental illness, such as chlorpromazine, droperidol, fluphenazine, haloperidol, perphenazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with pramipexole, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Directing Glance On Dopaminergic System Physiology: Can The Dopamine Be A Reliable Bridge Between Rls/wed And Pd
Dopamine is the most common catecholamine in the central nervous system that can modulate different functions, like movement, cognition, reward and motivation . DA derived from the conversion of 2,3-dihydroxyphenylalanine by the enzyme DOPA decarboxylase . Tyrosine hydroxylase is the enzyme responsible for converting the amino acid tyrosine to DOPA, monitoring the DA amount.
It is known that there are three groups of dopaminergic cells that give rise to three different axonal pathways with different functions: nigrostriatal, mesocorticolimbic, and tuberoinfundibular system. The latter is the smallest in terms of brain DA content and controls the pituitary system. Nigrostriatal DA pathway controls voluntary movement, and dysfunction in this pathway has been implicated in movement disorder like PD. Mesocorticolimbic systems DA modulate various cognitive/emotive functions, and their degeneration may lead to some psychiatric disorders. Several studies have pointed out that mesocorticolimbic system can also modulate thalamocortical arousal state . Studies from the effect of psychomotor stimulant with a molecular structure similar to DA, like amphetamine, , has demonstrated that endogenous DA is involved in promoting wakefulness .
Take into consideration his contribution to sleep-wake state in addition to other waking behaviors like movement, DA has been considered the bridge that underlying PD and RLS/WED .
Restless Leg Syndrome In Children
There is thought to be a genetic link with restless legs syndrome, especially with primary restless legs syndrome . The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation reports that 35 percent of people with the condition say they first experienced symptoms before the age of 20, and that 1.5 million children and adolescents in the United States are believed to be affected.
Children with RLS are likely to be tired during the day, due to disturbed sleep. This can affect their performance in school, social functioning and interactions with peers and family.
RLS is usually diagnosed based on a personâs description of their symptoms. However, it can be difficult for children to express what they are experiencing and accurately report their symptom history. Children exhibiting twitching and fidgeting may be mistaken for having ADHD. There is research to suggest 25 percent of children with RLS or periodic limb movements in sleep may be misdiagnosed as having ADHD.
Don’t Miss: Can Parkinson’s Run In The Family
Restless Leg Syndrome Vs Sciatica
- Sciatica, also called sciatic nerve pain, causes pain running down the legs, usually from the lower back all the way to the feet. RLS and sciatic nerve pain are often confused.
- The primary cause of sciatica is a;pinched nerve or herniated disc in the lower spine running along the sciatic nerve. Other;causes of sciatica are spinal stenosis, infection, a broken pelvis or thighbone, or a tumor.
- According to Harvard Medical School, the biggest difference between these two conditions is that sciatica doesnt tend to get worse during sleep and then better again during the daytime, like restless leg syndrome usually does. Sciatica;symptoms are also usually worsened from moving, coughing, bending, exercising, sneezing and physical activities that tug on the sciatic nerve.
- Some choose pain-reducing medications or even surgery to correct sciatic, but less invasive treatment options can also be very helpful. Treatments for sciatica include chiropractic spinal adjustments or spinal manipulation, stretching, acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapy.
Precautions Regarding;Restless Leg Syndrome
For some people, RLS gets worse with age, especially if underlying causes arent treated. Most of the time restless legs syndrome wont lead to a more serious health problem or pose any major risks, but its still important to keep an eye on progress of symptoms.
- Dizziness and signs of low blood sugar
- Chronic fatigue thats severe
- Numbness and tingling in your limbs thats severe
What Is Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome is a sleep and movement disorder. Those with this condition will have an urge to move their legs;and abnormal feelings of tingling or prickling . The urge to move will feel worse at rest, and only be relieved by movement such as stretching or walking. All of these symptoms will only occur or worsen at night. Some people with RLS will move their legs during their sleep as well. This is known as Periodic Limb Movement during Sleep , and may cause so much movement they will wake themselves up.
Read Also: Is Parkinson’s Disease Fatal
How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Treated
RLS can be treated, with care directed toward relieving symptoms.; Moving the affected limb may provide temporary relief.; Sometimes RLS symptoms can be controlled by finding and treating an associated medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, or iron deficiency anemia.
Iron supplementation or medications are usually helpful but no single medication effectively manages RLS for all individuals.; Trials of different drugs may be necessary.; In addition, medications taken regularly may lose their effect over time or even make the condition worse, making it necessary to change medications.
Treatment options for RLS include:
;Lifestyle changes.; Certain lifestyle changes and activities may provide some relief in persons with mild to moderate symptoms of RLS.; These steps include avoiding or decreasing the use of alcohol and tobacco, changing or maintaining a regular sleep pattern, a program of moderate exercise, and massaging the legs, taking a warm bath, or using a heating pad or ice pack.; There are new medical devices that have been cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration , including a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and another that is a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs.; Aerobic and leg-stretching exercises of moderate intensity also may provide some relief from mild symptoms.
What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.
Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.
The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:
- Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
- Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
- Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.
Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.
Read Also: Essential Oils For Parkinson
Restless Legs Syndrome Triggers
Sitting or resting are common triggers for RLS symptoms. Additionally, some substances can make symptoms worse. These include:
- Medications, including certain drugs used to treat nausea, colds and allergies, and mental health conditions
Incidentally, most of these substances when taken in excess or too close to bedtime can also adversely affect our sleep architecture.
How Should I Take Mirapex
Take Mirapex exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
If you are taking Mirapex you should not take extended-release Mirapex ER at the same time.
The dose and timing of Mirapex in treating Parkinson’s disease is different from the dose and timing in treating RLS. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the kind of tablet you receive at the pharmacy.
Mirapex can be taken with or without food. Take the medication with food if it upsets your stomach.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release Mirapex ER tablet. Swallow it whole.
If you are taking this medication for RLS, tell your doctor if your symptoms get worse, if they occur in the morning or earlier than usual in the evening, or if you feel restless symptoms in your hands or arms.
Do not stop using this medicine suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Don’t Miss: Parkinson’s Disease Life Expectancy
Restless Legs Syndrome And Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Most people who have RLS also have a condition called periodic limb movement disorder . PLMD involves repetitive flexing or twitching of the limbs while asleep at night. It is different from RLS in that these movements are not accompanied by uncomfortable sensations and because they occur during sleep, patients are often not aware of them. However, PLMD-associated movements can cause a person to wake up and therefore can compound sleep issues in patients who also have RLS.
Although most people with RLS have PLMD, many with PLMD do not have RLS.
Finding Relief With Movement
Many people with RLS find relief from their discomfort by moving the legs. They may walk around the house or ride a stationary bike at night to be able to sleep. People may have to get up several times in the night and walk around to find relief.1-3
During the day, they may kick or move their legs under the table at a meeting, or ask to stand and pace in the back of the room.
Recommended Reading: Can You Die From Parkinson\’s Disease
Sensory Suggested Immobilization Test
The PD+RLS group was further assessed with the sensory SIT,. Patients were observed in the evening, between 8PM and 9PM, lying down in a 45° recumbent position and instructed to move as little as possible with legs extended. Patients were asked every 10min to indicate their perceived severity of leg discomfort, using a visual analog scale of 0100, generating seven individual values for each participant. A mean leg discomfort score >11 was used as supportive of RLS diagnosis. This cutoff value has previously been evaluated and proposed as appropriate in the context of RLS diagnosis in PD.