Sleep is a natural process that allows a person’s body to cleanse and repair itself from each days activities and the stress that comes with them. When a person does not get enough sleep, their body cannot perform as it should and their health can deteriorate. People often lose sleep due to long hours at work and stress caused by every day life. Sleep disorders are very common and can also affect a person’s sleep. Some are not easy to detect and require medical treatment. Others can be alleviated by making changes in sleeping habits and a person’s lifestyle.
Restless leg syndrome or RLS is a serious condition that is very common sleep disorder among truck drivers. A person suffering from RLS experience their legs moving continuously as they are sleep. Most people that suffer from this condition do not know they even have it. The movements themselves are due to the sufferer having an irrepressible urge to move their arms and legs to relieve pain and odd feelings in their arms and legs. By moving the body part having the sensation, they get temporary relief. The pain and sensation they are feeling may be shortly alleviated or immediately return. This condition can start as early as childhood and is progressive if not medically treated. In most cases, symptoms disappear after treatment has been started.
RLS can be considered primary or secondary. The causes of primary RLS are unknown and have not been determined through medical research. It begins before the age of forty and can appear as early as one year of age. The condition progresses slowly, can seem to disappear for months to years at a time, and becomes worse after the age of forty. Symptoms appear daily and attacks are frequent when you have secondary RLS. It normally appears after the age of forty. Symptoms have been linked to medical conditions such as pregnancy, folate deficiency, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, iron deficiencies, drug use and auto-immune disorders can cause restless leg syndrome to develop. Treating the condition causing RLS can actually eliminate the sleep disorder. RLS can be inherited and specific treatments are needed to alleviate the condition.
Life style changes and other approaches can decrease the symptoms of restless leg syndrome making it more bearable. Certain changes like exercising can make a big difference and possibly eliminate the symptoms all together. Eliminating caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can reduce RLS attacks. Learning about the condition can help you determine what changes need to be made by you for improvement. If changing things does not help, medical help is the next step.
RLS and other sleep disorders among truck drivers cause them to be more fatigued when driving. This makes them a safety hazard to themselves, fellow drivers, and the company they work for. If you are experiencing symptoms restless leg syndrome and it is affecting your daily performance and abilities, it is time to seek medical diagnosis and treatment. Continuing to be a commercial driver while suffering from RLS can cause your health to deteriorate and put you at risk for serious injury or possibly death when in route to your destination.