Are you dealing with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and wondering if it's the primary cause of restless leg syndrome (RLS)?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people every year. Known for its often-painful symptoms, this condition occurs when blood flow is restricted in the veins due to a blood clot.
When left untreated, these clots can travel throughout the body and cause serious complications. People dealing with DVT often experience pain, chronic leg swelling, and redness in the affected area.
But deep vein thrombosis isn't limited to this range of symptoms.
Many people dealing with this condition also often find themselves dealing with restless leg syndrome - a neurological disorder that makes it difficult to sit still.
So how true is this connection? Does deep vein thrombosis truly cause restless leg syndrome, or is there more to it than meets the eye?
To separate fact from fiction, we'll take a closer look at the relationship between deep vein thrombosis and restless leg syndrome. You'll also learn what you can do to prevent DVT for a better quality of life.
Let's take a look at what you need to know.
Exploring How DVT Can Cause Restless Leg Syndrome
While the thought of DVT being the primary culprit behind restless leg syndrome may seem farfetched, there's always some truth in it.
You see, a primary effect DVT has on our body system is that it hampers proper blood circulation. When clots form deep within the blood stream within our leg veins, damage to certain valve pathways can occur.
Valves are important as they allow blood to flow in one direction.
When they malfunction, blood can start flowing in the opposite direction and cause a backup that leads to varicose veins.
When this happens, it can often lead to nerve damage known as neuropathy. This type of nerve damage often causes an array of symptoms, such as unpleasant sensations, cramping, and an irresistible urge to move your legs—all common symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS).
So while deep vein thrombosis doesn't directly cause restless leg syndrome, it can be a contributing factor to the condition.
That's why taking steps to prevent DVT before it becomes a problem is important. Let's take a look at some of the best ways you can do this.
Preventing DVT to Reduce Restless Leg Syndrome Risk
From drinking plenty of water to avoiding alcohol, there are many steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis.
Let's take a look at some of the best ways you can help do that:
First, let's begin with the dos:
Get massage therapy
One of the best preventive steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing DVT is to get regular massage therapy.
Make sure to find a qualified masseuse or therapist who understands what to look for in terms of DVT risk factors. Other ways to get massage therapy include using a leg massager or massage gun, both of which can help reduce RLS symptoms as well.
Leg massagers like the FitGun Air C Pro are especially effective in this regard, as they wrap around your calf muscles and other areas of the leg to provide relief from tightness and tension. On the flip side, massage guns can be used on any muscle group to reduce tension and promote circulation.
You get an effective range of motion and flexibility with these two products.
Wear compression stockings
A second step you can take to reduce DVT risk is to wear compression stockings.
Compression stockings apply gentle pressure to your lower legs and feet, helping to improve circulation and prevent further blood clots from forming. Make sure to buy the right kind of compression stocking, as not all are created equal.
Look for a pair made from breathable fabric with graduated levels of compression.
A major contributing factor to DVT is a lack of physical activity.
Keeping up with regular exercise can help keep your blood flowing and reduce your risk of developing a clot. Aim to get at least 20 minutes of moderate physical activity each day by going for a brisk walk or engaging in light exercise.
Common light exercises you can integrate into your daily routines include yoga, swimming, running, jogging, and biking.
You can also break up this time into smaller, 10-minute chunks if that works better for you.
Drink lots of water
Drinking lots of water is another essential step in preventing DVT.
With fewer fluids in the human body system, blood clots can form more easily as they become thicker and harder to move through our veins. So, make sure you're drinking plenty of water each day to stay hydrated for a healthy circulatory system.
Aim to drink at least 8–10 glasses of water each day. You can also add in other drinks, such as fruit juices or herbal teas.
If you find yourself struggling to stay hydrated, try using a water bottle throughout the day and keeping it filled up as much as possible.
Keep a healthy weight
How much you weigh can also have an impact on how likely you are to develop deep vein thrombosis.
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing blood clots as it puts added pressure on the veins and can decrease circulation. Weight gain can also increase the risk of other circulatory problems, such as varicose veins.
To keep your weight in check, try to eat a balanced diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. You can also integrate regular physical activity into your daily routine to help shed any excess pounds.
Now let's get into some of the don'ts when it comes to preventing DVT:
Are you one to light up a cigarette every now and then?
If so, you should know that smoking can significantly increase your risk of developing blood clots. The nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes can damage the lining of your veins and make them more prone to clotting.
So, if you want to reduce your chances of developing DVT, it's best to quit smoking altogether.
Do not drink a lot of alcohol
It is important to limit your alcohol consumption when trying to reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.
Drinking too much alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to blood thickening and an increased risk of clots. It can also damage the lining of your veins, making them more prone to clotting.
To reduce your risk, it’s best to limit your consumption of alcohol and avoid binge drinking.
Don't sit still for long periods of time
Last on our list of steps you can take to reduce your risk of DVT is avoiding sitting still for long periods of time.
When we sit still for extended periods of time, our blood begins to pool in our legs and feet, which can increase our risk of developing blood clots. So be sure to take a break every few hours, get up, and move around if you have been sitting for too long.
You can also wear compression stockings if you have to sit for a long time or wear loose-fitting clothing that will help keep your blood flowing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still got questions on how DVT can cause restless leg syndrome?
Go through our FAQs section and find answers to the most commonly asked questions on this topic.
How can one diagnose DVT before it leads to restless leg syndrome?
One way to diagnose DVT before it leads to restless leg syndrome is by being aware of the signs and symptoms associated with deep vein thrombosis.
These can include chronic swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth, or redness where they occur. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor right away. Your doctor will likely do a physical exam and order blood tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan to diagnose DVT.
Factors like your family and medical history may also be taken into account to help determine if you may be at risk for developing DVT.
This way, you can catch it early and get the treatment plan you need before it leads to restless leg syndrome.
Besides DVT, are there any other venous conditions that can cause restless leg syndrome?
Yes, there are.
While deep vein thrombosis can be a contributing factor to developing restless leg syndrome, there are also other common conditions that can lead to this problem.
These include iron deficiency anemia, kidney failure, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy. What's more, certain medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can also lead to the development of RLS.
Other causes include alcohol abuse, low levels of magnesium in the body, pregnancy, low levels of folate, or vitamin B12, and certain neurological conditions.
Besides restless leg syndrome, are there other underlying medical conditions that occur as a result of DVT?
Yes, there are other medical conditions that can occur as a result of DVT.
In addition to restless leg syndrome, deep vein thrombosis can also lead to pulmonary embolism (PE). PE is a blood condition in which one or more blood clots travel from the leg and lodge in the lungs, causing blockage of the pulmonary arteries. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, a rapid heart rate, and other symptoms.
Other conditions caused by DVT include post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), varicose vein disease, and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
If you're concerned about your risk of developing DVT or any other condition, be sure to seek medical attention from your healthcare provider.
Now that you know more about how DVT can cause restless leg syndrome, it's important to take steps to reduce your risk of developing this condition.
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications, such as pulmonary embolism and restless leg syndrome.
To reduce your risk, be sure to follow some of the preventive steps outlined in this article for quick relief. This begins with wearing compression stockings, getting massage therapy, staying active, drinking lots of water to maintain a healthy weight, and avoiding sitting for prolonged periods of time.
By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of developing complications related to DVT and help yourself maintain good health.
Reach out to our team of healthcare professionals if you have any further questions or concerns about this condition.