Special Report: Relaxing Rest
Carolyn Renken, Has Sleep Disorder
"You wake up and you feel like you fought a battle."
For eight years, Quincy resident, Carolyn Renken has had trouble sleeping.
"You're always tired because you're not sleeping well, it almost feels like you didn't get any rest at all."
Carolyn suffers from Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS. This research video reveals how RLS is ruining the sleep of 12 million people. Watch as this man's legs kick and body trembles to a point where it causes him to sit-up. He falls asleep again in this uncomfortable position.
Many, who have RLS, have no idea how much they're tossing and turning.
"I would be sleeping, I wouldn't notice I was doing that."
But her husband did, and it forced him to sleep on the couch.
"It's hard to watch your spouse deal with this all the time."
Carl Renken, Husband
Some sleep experts say that RLS is under-diagnosed.
"Many people wander from doctor to doctor describing symptoms, describing their insomnia and somehow it's not getting picked-up on."
Dr. John Winkelman, Sleep Health Center, Newton
Here are some signs of RLS:
While you relax, before bed
- Creepy-crawly sensations in the legs
- An urge to get up and walk around
Uncontrollable leg kicking and arm movement, which sometimes interrupts sleep.
When you wake
- Feelings of exhaustion
- Sore, achy legs and arms
Right now, there is no FDA approved treatment for RLS. Some drugs developed for other illnesses have shown mixed results.
New research could lead to better treatment. Scientists have linked RLS to iron absorption problems in the body. A new study of the drug, Sumanirole, is now underway at Brigham and Women's Sleep Health Center in Newton.
"It's in the middle stages of being tested for restless leg syndrome, and it appears to be quite effective."
Dr. John Winkelman
Some patients take Sumanirole and others take placebo. Carolyn isn't sure if her medicine is real, or not.
"I feel better with this, being on this study medicine, but we'll wait until the end of it before we know for sure."
If she is taking Sumanirole, she'd like to see it approved for regular RLS treatment.
"It would be great to have a good night's sleep and feel great in the morning."
Results of the Sumanirole study will be completed early next year.
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