What is restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Ekbom syndrome, Wittmaack-Ekbom syndrome, anxietas tibiarum, or anxietas tibialis, is a condition that produces an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs caused by or associated with unpleasant feelings in them. This sensation most often occurs in the evening, especially when attempting to relax or
sleep. Movement can provide temporary relief, but the impulses may consistently return. Fatigue caused by disrupted sleep may develop that eventually impacts normal functioning and quality of life.
Restless leg syndrome is an uncomfortable creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling, twitching, tearing, aching, throbbing, prickling or grabbing sensation in the calves that occurs while sitting or while lying down. Whatever the nature of the sensation, the result is an uncontrollable urge to relieve it by moving the legs. Restless leg syndrome is a common cause of painful legs. The leg pain typically eases with motion of the legs and becomes more noticeable at rest. There is worsening of symptoms during the early evening or later at night. The nighttime worsening of symptoms in persons with restless legs syndrome often leads to insomnia.
Restless legs syndrome symptoms can occur in one or both legs and can also be felt in the arms. These symptoms occur most often when lying down, but can also occur when sitting for long periods of time, such as at a desk, riding in a car, or watching a movie. People with rstless legs syndrome talk about having an irresistible urge to move the legs. Moving the legs, walking, rubbing or massaging the legs, or doing knee bends can bring relief, at least for a short time. Many people with restless legs syndrome also have a related sleep disorder called periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). With PLMS, a person jerks or bends their legs unintentionally during sleep. These movements can happen every 10 to 60 seconds, or hundreds of times, during the night. They can wake a person, disturb sleep, and wake bed partners. People who have both restless legs syndrome and PLMS have trouble falling and staying asleep and can have extreme sleepiness during the day.
Restless legs syndrome is thought to affect women more often than men. It can start at any age, even in young children, but most people with restless legs syndrome are middle-aged or older. And, older people with restless legs syndrome have symptoms more often and for longer periods of time. Young people who have restless legs syndrome are sometimes thought to have "growing pains" or may be considered "hyperactive" because they cannot sit still in school.
More information on restless legs syndrome
What is restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that produces an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs caused by or associated with unpleasant feelings in them.
What causes restless legs syndrome? - The cause of restless legs syndrome remains unknown. Restless legs syndrome is a central nervous system disorder. Stress generally makes restless legs syndrome worse.
What're the risk factors for restless legs syndrome? - Risk factors for restless legs syndrome include pregnancy, osteoarthritis, varicose veins, diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis.
What're the complications of restless legs syndrome? - Severe and persistent restless legs syndrome symptoms can cause considerable mental distress, chronic insomnia, and daytime sleepiness.
What're the symptoms of restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome symptoms are unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings or sensations in the legs often described as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling.
How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed? - The diagnosis of restless legs syndrome is based primarily on the patient's history. Polysomnography may be used to rule out other sleep disorders.
What's the treatment for restless legs syndrome? - Treatment of restless legs syndrome depends on the severity of symptoms. Medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include carbidopa, levodopa, opioids.
What non-drugs therapies are available? - Exercise may be one of the best ways to achieve healthy sleep. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia. Paradoxical intention is a psychological approach.
What medications cure restless legs syndrome? - Daily drug treatment is recommended only for people who have restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms at least three nights a week.
How to prevent restless leg syndrome? - Prevention of sleeplessness is dependent upon the patient's ability to relax. Diet is very important in preventing restless legs syndrome.
What's periodic limb movement disorder? - Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep.