By 2050, approximately 400,000 Australians are expected to experience restless legs syndrome (RLS), a 44 percent increase over estimations made in 2004. This disorder can be especially problematic for people over 65 because they need plenty of rest to maintain optimum health. There are many causes of RLS, which can make it challenging to prevent and treat. The Perth, WA, respite care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss a few of the common causes of RLS and offer some tips on how your ageing loved one can reduce the risk of developing it.

Medications

RLS is listed as a potential side effect of hundreds of different prescription and over-the-counter medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, antinausea drugs, and cold medicines. Seniors who are experiencing RLS symptoms should speak with their primary healthcare providers to see if any of their medications are affecting their nervous systems or sleep cycles. The doctor will most likely replace each medication one at a time to see if it helps alleviate RLS symptoms.

Chronic Diseases

Practically any medical condition that affects the muscles, brain, joints, nerves, or cardiovascular system can result in RLS. Chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, kidney failure, and diabetes can all increase your loved one’s risk of neurological sleep disorders. Treating the underlying disease itself may decrease the side effects of RLS or get rid of it entirely.

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is a sedative, which means it can help your loved one fall asleep faster. However, sleep can be disrupted due to the impact alcohol has on the brain and nervous system. Completely removing alcohol from the diet is often the first suggestion most specialists make when treating RLS. If your loved one would still like to have an occasional drink, he or she should limit it to just one or two servings a day and refrain from drinking just before he or she goes to bed.

Chronic Sleep Deprivation

A 2013 Gallup poll found less than 40 percent of older adults are getting the 6 to 8 hours of sleep they need each night. For seniors, chronic sleep deprivation is often the result of medications, general anxiety, and various health conditions, any of which can lead to RLS. If your loved one is having trouble sleeping, he or she can have an extensive sleep study carried out to see what is causing the issue. Some basic lifestyle changes may be all your loved one needs to get a good night’s rest and reduce the risk of RLS.

If your loved one needs help maintaining better sleep hygiene habits or managing an illness, turn to Perth Home Care Assistance. Our dedicated caregivers can provide transportation to medical appointments, encourage healthy eating habits, and assist with a wide variety of important daily tasks. For more information on home care Perth seniors and their families can rely on, call one of our qualified Care Managers today at [hca_phone].