Restless legs syndrome (RLS) can be caused by a variety of factors, which makes it difficult for seniors and their families to determine what changes need to be made to prevent it and manage its symptoms. North Coast 24-hour care experts discuss some of the top causes of this disorder and a few preventive measures your elderly loved one can take.
When diabetes is not properly controlled, seniors are at a higher risk of developing RLS. Diabetes can cause damage to the vessels that supply blood to the nerves and lead to peripheral neuropathy, which causes a tingling or numbness in the feet, legs, and hands. If your loved one is living with diabetes, he or she can reduce the risk of developing RLS by exercising, taking medications as prescribed, and eating a healthy diet.
Nicotine is a stimulant that impairs the flow of blood to the muscles, which can cause the legs to become restless. To prevent RLS, your loved one should avoid smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
A lack of iron prevents blood from flowing to the brain properly, which affects the way the brain cells use dopamine, the chemical that controls muscle movement. Your loved one will need to make sure his or her body receives enough iron to prevent RLS. He or she can prevent iron deficiencies by eating foods full of iron, taking vitamin supplements, and avoiding caffeine or foods that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb iron.
Bad Sleep Hygiene
If your loved one does not maintain good sleep hygiene, he or she may experience symptoms of RLS, such as itching, throbbing, and pain. To prevent these symptoms, your loved one will need to get adequate sleep throughout the night. He or she can do so by developing a sleep schedule and sticking to it, sleeping in a comfortable bed, and eliminating stress.
Getting a good night’s rest is crucial to a senior’s health. If your loved one needs help managing an illness that is making it difficult to sleep well at night, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and assist with exercise and a wide array of important daily tasks. For more information on the home care North Coast seniors trust, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 1300 LIVE-IN or (02) 6646 3527 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.