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Friday, October 25, 2013

Neuropathy or Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)? - Part 2

Restless Leg Syndrome - Is this what I have?

Once again I apologize, I did not get a post out for a couple of days.  I have been up for 2 days and nights trying to get a computer issue solved.  Hopefully it is all good now.  Not good for sugar levels or stress management.

BS - 102 fasting this morning
BP - 110/77 (home machine) - HR 55

I have always been amazed at how people are finding this blog.  Tonight, I did a search on a topic and this blog come up in the number 4 spot on the search.  Knowing how search engines work, that means with everyone coming in from different sources, this blog gets a high rating.  Again, I am thankful as maybe one person can get something out of this blog.

My symptoms

In this post I want to describe what I was going through and how research lead me to the decisions I made to make a change.  As I said in Part 1 - it is hard to describe what you are feeling when the feeling is extremely different and hard to explain.

The first symptom I have always had is very "hot" feet.  I mean I can be in the middle of winter and feet still feel warm.  I can be in the office and it cool and my feet felt hot.  I would buy thin shoes and my feet were still hot - or felt that way.

It was / is so bad I can be sitting at a musical concert in summer time with t-shirt, shirts, and sandals with it being a cool night and the bottom of me feet feel hot.  I am sitting here with a jacket on because I am chilled but my feet are heating up and I want to take off my shoes.

This normal happens at night - in my mind.  Looking back, it is when my feet are at rest and so it was in my mind.  The mind and the feet begin to have a conversation and the feet or the brain decide the feet feel warm / hot.  But it mainly happens at night.

The second symptom was / is a tingly feeling in my feet when I try to sleep.  The tingly feeling is like thousands of little pointed objects - tickling my feet or a small needle prick sensation.  It can be so bad it wakes me up at night and I have to do something.

Totally frustrated - could not sleep

I could not sleep and that just wears you out.  The no sleep and the stress are known problems with managing sugar levels. 

I would start off by hanging me feet out from under the sheets to cool them off or help with the tingling.

That sometimes worked but not always and then I would spin my foot in a circular motion and that would help - but not always.

I would then start to rub the bottom of my feet and put some pressure on the center and that would help - sometimes.

Many times, in the end - I would have to get up and walk around.

As I said, being on the neuropathy medicine really helped that but started to hurt my feet.  Then I started the research.

Research material

You can read the full article but this is the start of it:

"Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable, and sometimes overwhelming, urge to move them. Symptoms occur primarily at night when a person is relaxing or at rest and can increase in severity during the night. Moving the legs relieves the discomfort. Often called paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), the sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.
The most distinctive or unusual aspect of the condition is that lying down and trying to relax activates the symptoms. Most people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Left untreated, the condition causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue. Many people with RLS report that their job, personal relations, and activities of daily living are strongly affected as a result of their sleep deprivation. They are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks. It also can make traveling difficult and can cause depression.
As many as 10 percent of the U.S. population may have RLS. Several studies have shown that moderate to severe RLS affects approximately 2-3 percent of adults (more than 5 million individuals). An additional 5 percent appears to be affected by a milder form. Childhood RLS is estimated to affect almost 1 million school-age children, with one-third having moderate to severe symptoms. Some people with RLS will not seek medical attention, believing that they will not be taken seriously, that their symptoms are too mild, or that their condition is not treatable. Some physicians wrongly attribute the symptoms to nervousness, insomnia, stress, arthritis, muscle cramps, or aging."
I also found personal comments and notes of people doing the same thing I was doing.

Actions taken

Again, the article says it best:

"RLS can be treated, with care directed toward relieving symptoms. Moving the affected limb(s) may provide temporary relief. Sometimes RLS symptoms can be controlled by finding and treating an associated medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy or diabetes.
Certain lifestyle changes and activities that may reduce symptoms in persons with mild to moderate symptoms include decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco; supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium; changing or maintaining a regular sleep pattern; a program of moderate exercise; and massaging the legs, taking a hot bath, or using a heating pad or ice pack. A trial of iron supplements is recommended only for individuals with low iron levels. Although many people find some relief with such measures, rarely do these efforts completely eliminate symptoms."
I was in the process of starting my journey to control my diabetes so that was  the first step.
I quit smoking two years ago so that was good.
I now drink one cup of coffee a day as it is still supposed to have some positive effects on us diabetics and sugar level management.
I was already deep into the green drink and getting good iron and folate.  That left magnesium.  I started to take 400mg of magnesium per day mainly for this but I also found out magnesium is also good for high blood pressure - and I had that as well so I saw a double win for me.
The exercise I did at the time involved walking the dog and playing some golf.  I started the exercise program a few weeks later.

So how am I do?

Well, good news is I am off the neuropathy medicine.  My doctor agrees it most likely is RLS manifested in my feet.  I still have some symptoms but not as bad.  I am not kept awake by it now so I think the sleep helps keep my sugar levels down and it just is an all around win for me.


May God grant you the ability to define and describe your symptoms to your doctor.  May he bless you with relief and may he help you along your journey as he does me.


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Please leave your comments or suggestions - looking to getting some good discussions going. Tell me what you have tried and what has or has not worked.

Thanks for the support