Restless Legs Syndrome

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  • Restless Legs Syndrome is an irresistible urge to move your legs.
  • Symptoms often occur during periods of inactivity.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder affecting millions of Americans.
  • More than 80 percent of people with RLS also have Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS).

What are the symptoms of RLS?

An overwhelming urge to move the legs often accompanied by unpleasant sensations. The feelings may be described as tingling, creepy, itching, pulling or aching and may also affect the arms.

  • Symptoms occur during periods of inactivity.
  • Symptoms are worse in the evening and at night.
  • Moving the limbs relieves the symptoms, but they often come right back again.

How does RLS affect people?

  • RLS interferes with falling asleep and can profoundly disturb sleep, as well as daytime functioning.
  • Eight of 10 RLS sufferers have insomnia and sleep less than 6 hours per night, and over half miss work because of poor sleep.
  • People with RLS report feeling tired, pessimistic, stressed, and angry more often than other people.

How common is RLS?

RLS affects about 5% of adults in the U.S. Many doctors don’t recognize RLS. Misdiagnoses such as leg cramps, neurological or psychiatric disorders are common.

What causes RLS?

RLS runs in families and may have a genetic component in about half of cases. In others it is a manifestation of iron deficiency, kidney disease, pregnancy or diabetes. In some people with RLS, a specific part of the brain appears to be unable to obtain the normal amount of iron, and researchers are working on treatments to overcome that deficit.