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美脚の足
美脚の足

レストレスレッグとは!?睡眠時のムズムズはレストレスレッグ症候群かも

美脚の足

脚がムズムズして眠れない。脚気か何かかなぁ、栄養たりてないのかなぁっ……? でも別にちゃんと3食食べてるし、体に悪いものもないし、持病もないはずなのに。

そんなあなたはしらない間に「レストレスレッグ症候群」にかかっているかもしれません。以前から「むずむず脚症候群」として知られていましたが、まだまだ専門医にかかる人もすくない病気。その潜在患者数は200万人とも言われています。

あなたの不眠の原因かもしれない「レストレスレッグス症候群」についてご紹介いたします。

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レストレスレッグス症候群とは

美脚

「レストレスレッグス症候群」は、手脚の不快感や痛みが慢性的に続く病気です。体がむずむずして動かしたくなってしまったり、ひどいときは痙攣が起こったりするため睡眠ができず、睡眠障害の一つに数えられています。

自覚症状としては、横になったりじっとしたりする姿勢になっているときに、むずむずしてしまったり、じっとしていられなくなったりしてきます。重症になると、痛い、かゆう、ピンでなぞられているような辛さ、針で刺されるような痛みを感じるそうです。激しい振動にさらされているような錯覚を覚える人も多く、この症状は重症化すると非常に辛いことになります。

これを和らげるために、常に体を動かしたりさすったりしなければならないそうです。昼夜にわたってむずむずがある場合、デスクワークもできなくなってしまい生活困難になってしまうこともあるのです。回復が長引くと昼間の疲労感が蓄積し、解消できないままになってしまいます。

古くはヨーロッパの17世紀に類似した症例が報告されていますが、睡眠障害として積極的な研究活動を展開したのは日本が最初だとされています。1960年にはいってアメリカでもエクボン博士がエクボン症候群と命名してから世界中で認知されるようになりました。現在では国際的に著名な睡眠障害として知られています。

より症状に沿ったかたちで「下肢静止不能症候群」とも言われいます。脚を止めていられない、ということですね。レストレスレッグス症候群(restless legs syndrome)と現在では言われていますが、略称をして「RLS」とも呼ばれます。

「周期性四肢運動障害」と呼ばれる、定期的に体が思うように動かなくなる症状が一緒に現れることが多いのも特徴です。

レストレスレッグス症候群の原因

レストレスレッグス症候群がなぜ発症するのか実はまだよくわかっていません。どうやら脳内物質の「ドーパミン」が少ないせいではないかといわれ、ドーパミンを分泌させる薬が処方されてもいます。

また、中枢神経系において鉄分や葉酸が不足して代謝異常起きているのではないかとも言われています。鉄分の摂取が効果的であるとされるのはこの理由からです。

あるいは脊髄症や手脚の末梢神経系に異常があるのではないかともされていますし、また遺伝的な要素も指摘されています。

すこしでもむずむずを和らげるための日常のケア

ここでは日常的にできるレストレスレッグス症候群の対処法を説明します。

カフェインやアルコールなどは避けましょう。睡眠を浅くするカフェインを摂取することで、入眠がさらに困難になります。

薬を休むのもよいでしょう。レストレスレッグス症候群は合併症でなりやすいので、何かの薬の摂取をきっかけになってしまうこともあるようです。

もっとも効果的なのが脚のマッサージです。就寝前に15分程度のストレッチ、それからマッサージを行い、筋肉のこわばりを取るようにすると改善が期待できます。とくに股関節のストレッチを意識してみましょう。特別なことはありません。ラジオ体操ぐらいでも十分効果があります。マッサージ屋さんには、レストレスレッグス症候群にあわせたマッサージをしてくれるところもあるそうです。

精神の緊張もレストレスレッグス症候群の症状を悪化させます。お風呂に入るのも効果的ですが、むずむずで落ち着いて入れないという方もいるそうです。そういう方は、大きめの温泉などに入ってゆっくりと休むとよいでしょう。鉄分を含有するお風呂は治療に効果的だとされています。リウマチなど併発しやすい症状の治療にも効果的なのです。

食事においても鉄分を葉酸を含む食事を食べると効果があるとされていますが、とりすぎは副作用があるため厳禁です。

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まとめに

レストレスレッグス症候群の診断は睡眠の専門医が認定しますが、もし少しでも自覚症状がある場合には診療を受けてみる価値が十分にあります。

つらいむずむずに悩まされている時には、日常的なケアや運動・マッサージなどでも効果があります。

たまにむずむずするぐらいの軽症時には、我慢してしまいそうになりますが、重症化すると生活が困難なほど辛い症状が訪れます。そうならないうちに、レストレスレッグス症候群に対して正しい知識を手に入れましょう。

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