W1 Activity: Restless Leg Syndrome

When I think of the term health I think of it holistically and that it encompasses all three components physical, mental and social well-being. As for illness, I view it only encompassing the social aspect as it’s personal experience based on how when treats it if person A and B were to have the same diseases their experiences would still be different.

One condition that stood out to me in the video was restless leg syndrome. It’s a condition that’s not really discussed as much as it should be. Also I have a personal connection with this condition as I suffer from it. It’s not a severe state but I experience in a state that it’s enough to make it noticeable sometimes among the public.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that involves throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs that is uncontrollable. It becomes overwhelming sometimes that the person feels urge to move them. It’s thought that moving the leg relieves the discomfort and so this can be seen when they may pace the floor, constantly move their legs while sitting, or toss and turn in bed. Triggers for this condition vary from genetics to personal experience like stress from work or school.

It definitely constitutes as an illness because it’s a condition that isn’t cured through medication but rather the lifestyle choices one makes. This includes getting proper sleep, eating the right nutrients, exercising, etc. In my case, when I experience restless leg syndrome- I involuntary shake my leg while sitting and it’s quite fast. My tactic is simple but once I notice my leg is shaking when it shouldn’t be I try to stop myself I get up, move around, drink some water, and sit back down.

Another condition that stood out to me was anxiety. It’s getting a lot more recognition these days then it used to years ago. I strongly agree that it’s an illness because anxiety is a spectrum condition that is triggered by one’s own environment. And in this environment there are all sorts of factors like use of drugs, abusive relationships, or traumatic events.

However, I would have to disagree that poverty could be classified as an illness. I see poverty as a social aspect that influences one’s illness. This includes access to basic necessities to health care infrastructure. Poverty to me hinders how the illness progresses for an individual. It’s a measure that reflects the severity of the illness. So individuals with higher socio economic statues are more likely to experience a speedy recovery and less severe symptoms.

“Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet.” Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet. Accessed July 08, 2016. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm.




2 thoughts on “W1 Activity: Restless Leg Syndrome

  1. Hi Mariam!
    I thought your discussion of restless leg syndrome was very enlightening and your description of how you deal with restless leg syndrome was interesting. My mother has it as well and it gets pretty bad for her around 9 or 10 pm every night. She has low levels of iron, which can also be a cause of restless leg syndrome, and takes a daily dose alongside her medication to help calm her movements.

    While looking for information on how other cultures see restless leg syndrome, I came across the United Kingdom’s National Health Service page which describes it as being Willis-Ekbom disease. I found this interesting considering that we’ve been learning the distinction between illness and disease. However, they seem to treat the condition the same as us, by encouraging people who suffer from restless leg syndrome to live a healthy lifestyle and treat themselves through either nutrition supplements or medication.

    I agree that anxiety is an illness, though at times it can seem rather disease-like. Depending on the person, anxiety attacks can manifest themselves as physical symptoms, like ulcers, insomnia, hives, etc and may be brought on by just thinking of a certain situation.

    Very interesting post!

    “Restless Legs Syndrome .” Restless Legs Syndrome. September 2, 2015. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Restless-leg-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx.

  2. Hey Mariam!
    Your definitions of health and illness both seemed to really encompass the meaning of the words in a direct, simple way. I always seem to find it difficult to define things in my own words, but you did a great job of that!

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is something that I have always found interesting. I have never experienced it personally, but I do have a relative that also suffers from it and I see how frustrating and exhausting it can really be. As I looked up RLS through Google I tried adding various countries to the search bar, and found that other countries and cultures tend to identify and treat RLS in a very similar fashion. I was extremely surprised to read that 16% of South Africans suffer from RLS, which seems like such a large percentage to me. For such a large portion of the population to suffer with RLS, I was surprised to see that the main treatment was more lifestyle-oriented rather than a pharmaceutical solution.

    I agree with you in terms of poverty not being an illness and instead being a social aspect that influences health. . With insufficient access to medical care, poverty could certainly lead to increased illness and poorer health, however, I do not believe that it itself is an illness.

    Health Society of South Africa. “Restless Legs Syndrome”. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://www.healthsociety.co.za/article.asp?ID=603.

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