What Is the Prognosis for RLS Sufferers?

Whilst I was hunting to find out if there is any research currently underway to help alleviate symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS), I found information on the prognosis for people with RLS that greatly interested me.1

The fact sheet explained that RLS is a "lifelong condition with no cure. Some people experience periods of remission, and some people see their symptoms worsen as they get older."1

The hunt for a good night's sleep

The knowledge that remission periods do happen is startling. I am someone who suffers from some effect nightly, no matter what I attempt to do to cease the creepy crawly feelings.

The treasure (a decent night's sleep) is most definitely out there. I just need to find the map, decipher the symbols, fly to outer Mongolia (that is where I imagine it is!), and start digging!

The downside is that, apparently, symptoms can gradually worsen with age. As someone who is hurtling towards a major birthday (a lady never divulges!), the thought of it worsening fills me with ever-increasing dread.

More questions about RLS than answers

Surprisingly, the quite major questions that need answering regarding RLS do not seem to have been asked – at least not in a "shout about it at the top of your voice" way.

We do not know what the direct cause is of it. Although it is thought that changes in the brain's signaling pathways are likely to contribute, researchers suspect that impaired transmission of dopamine signals in the brain’s basal ganglia may play a role.1

The future of RLS research

There is a relationship between genetics and RLS, although currently, there is no genetic testing undertaken. Thankfully, mind you, the National Institutes of Health have 4 projects underway, with funding totaling in excess of $1.8 million looking into RLS and sleep, and RLS alongside other conditions.2

With 7 to 10 percent of the US population potentially suffering from RLS, as such, there needs to be some serious time and effort put into new studies to help individuals whose lives are blown apart by the impact this disease has on sleep, its emotional toll, and the long term depression it can cause.1

Risks associated with RLS

Do we need to make more noise about our condition? Granted, it does not cause loss of life in the conventional way, but the high suicide rate surely is a concern, as pointed out in this investigation undertaken and reported in August 2019: "Restless legs syndrome was associated with a high risk of suicide and self-harm, and the risk was independent of most identified diseases and conditions."3

Any condition that has, as a side effect, such a dramatic impact on the sufferer's mental health needs to be thoroughly researched. If any one person takes their life because of a neurological condition, that is 1 person too many. With properly trained mental health personnel, crisis centers need to be implemented as a matter of urgency.

Will help come soon enough?

In summation, it seems research is being undertaken, but I do not think at the rate new scientists are currently applying for funding, that any breakthroughs will help sufferers of our generation.

Are mental health services being implemented quickly enough? Think differently? Let me know! I am more than happy to be schooled in new ideas.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RestlessLegsSyndrome.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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