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Ask Dr. Gott 12/31
Restless legs make it a long night
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I suffer from severe leg cramps that sometimes will ease and come back again with a vengeance. They wake me from a sound sleep, and I have to get up. Nothing helps. Sometimes they last 10 minutes or more and are draining. I sweat and have heart palpitations, and the pain is unbearable.
    I find if I use a heating pad wrapped around my leg, I get some relief, but it takes awhile. Sometimes I have the condition in both legs, my thigh or the bottom of my legs.
    I am 71, very active and live in a two-story home. Since my laundry room is in the basement, I am up and down the stairs often.
    My doctor, who is aware of the spasms, seems to think they are caused by the shoes I'm wearing. I'm in slippers a lot of the time.
    I've been drinking water with quinine in it. I have tried a bar of soap in my bed, as I read in your column that really seems to help some with the twitches, but I am still bothered with spasms. Can you give me some suggestions?
    DEAR READER: Your leg spasms could be a variant of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). This disorder is characterized by a feeling of uneasiness, fatigue, twitching, pain and itching. It occurs most often in the lower part of a leg or legs and relief, if found, is by walking or moving the legs. Sleep is often interrupted by RLS.
    I suggest you ask your doctor to prescribe a course of therapy using Requip, a new medicine that treats RLS.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 65-year-old female with periodic episodes of diverticulitis and vertigo. I take Maxide for high blood pressure and a low-dose patch of HRT. My problem now is that I'm being treated for gastroesophageal reflux disease. I'm scheduled for an endoscopy in a few weeks, since Protonix and Nexium did not work. I'm on Aciphex, but I just started it, so I don't know if I'll have success or not.
    I am awestruck by the number of people — young and old — who have GERD. With so many people suffering from reflux, why don't I see it in your column more often? You say you will print issues of general interest. Well, according to my findings, this is very prevalent and should be of interest to many people.
    DEAR READER: I frequently discuss gastroesophageal reflux disease in my column, but I sometimes hold back rather than repeating myself endlessly.
    One of the dangers of GERD is a condition called Barrett's esophagus, pre-malignant changes in the lining of the esophagus. I endorse your decision to have your lower esophagus examined for significant abnormalities.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my newly updated Health Report "Hiatal Hernia, Acid Reflux and Indigestion."
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