Periodic Limb Movement Disorder: Causes and Remedies
When the legs are repetitively jerking and cramping while sleeping, a condition called periodic limb movement disorder, or PLMD, is most likely the cause. This leg movement with PLMD is at an uncontrollable rhythmic pattern of every 20 to 40 seconds. Periodic limb movement disorder is known as one of the crucial causes of sleep deprivation, leading to daytime grogginess. Restless leg syndrome is often confused with periodic limb movement disorder, although there is a difference between them. Periodic limb movement disorder occurs while sleeping and restless leg syndrome involves leg and occasional arm movement while awake. Another sleep disorder known as REM sleep behavior disorder involves motor behavior while sleeping as if to involuntarily act out a dream.
The primary cause of periodic limb movement disorder is unknown, but it is suspected that the nerves from the brain to the limbs are a source of the sporadic limb movement. The secondary causes of PLMD range from diabetes, spinal cord injury or tumor, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties, narcolepsy, anemia and iron deficiencies, and uremia. Withdrawals from various sedative types of medications may also cause periodic limb movement disorder. Although each sleep disorder is different, the common denominators of all are the side effects of sleep deprivation caused by any sleeping disorder.
When periodic limb movement disorder is treated, ruling out underlying causes is the first plan of action. Treating the life threatening issues like diabetes, breathing difficulties, or other conditions may alleviate symptoms such as periodic limb movement disorder. A common avenue of treatment for PLMD is the natural method of using herbal sleep aids with hopes to calm the body down to a more restful sleep. Whatever the treatment may be, periodic limb movement disorder deserves attention to prevent unnecessary sleep deprivation side effects.