Jul 17, Overview. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an. What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an intense, often irresistible urge to move your legs, often. Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move.
Syndrome What Leg is (RLS)? Restless
What causes restless legs syndrome? How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed? How is restless legs syndrome treated? What is the prognosis for people with restless legs syndrome? What research is being done?
Where can I get more information? Restless legs syndrome RLS , also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them.
Symptoms commonly occur in the late afternoon or evening hours, and are often most severe at night when a person is resting, such as sitting or lying in bed. They also may occur when someone is inactive and sitting for extended periods for example, when taking a trip by plane or watching a movie.
Since symptoms can increase in severity during the night, it could become difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement stops.
RLS is classified as a sleep disorder since the symptoms are triggered by resting and attempting to sleep, and as a movement disorder, since people are forced to move their legs in order to relieve symptoms.
It is, however, best characterized as a neurological sensory disorder with symptoms that are produced from within the brain itself. RLS is one of several disorders that can cause exhaustion and daytime sleepiness, which can strongly affect mood, concentration, job and school performance, and personal relationships.
Many people with RLS report they are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks. Untreated moderate to severe RLS can lead to about a 20 percent decrease in work productivity and can contribute to depression and anxiety. It also can make traveling difficult. It is estimated that up to percent of the U. RLS occurs in both men and women, although women are more likely to have it than men. It may begin at any age. Many individuals who are severely affected are middle-aged or older, and the symptoms typically become more frequent and last longer with age.
PLMS is characterized by involuntary leg and sometimes arm twitching or jerking movements during sleep that typically occur every 15 to 40 seconds, sometimes throughout the night.
Fortunately, most cases of RLS can be treated with non-drug therapies and if necessary, medications. People with RLS feel the irresistible urge to move, which is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in their lower limbs that are unlike normal sensations experienced by people without the disorder. The sensations in their legs are often difficult to define but may be described as aching throbbing, pulling, itching, crawling, or creeping.
These sensations less commonly affect the arms, and rarely the chest or head. Although the sensations can occur on just one side of the body, they most often affect both sides. They can also alternate between sides. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.
Because moving the legs or other affected parts of the body relieves the discomfort, people with RLS often keep their legs in motion to minimize or prevent the sensations. They may pace the floor, constantly move their legs while sitting, and toss and turn in bed. A classic feature of RLS is that the symptoms are worse at night with a distinct symptom-free period in the early morning, allowing for more refreshing sleep at that time.
Some people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. They may also note a worsening of symptoms if their sleep is further reduced by events or activity. RLS symptoms may vary from day to day, in severity and frequency, and from person to person. In moderately severe cases, symptoms occur only once or twice a week but often result in significant delay of sleep onset, with some disruption of daytime function. In severe cases of RLS, the symptoms occur more than twice a week and result in burdensome interruption of sleep and impairment of daytime function.
People with RLS can sometimes experience remissions—spontaneous improvement over a period of weeks or months before symptoms reappear—usually during the early stages of the disorder.
In general, however, symptoms become more severe over time. People who have both RLS and an associated medical condition tend to develop more severe symptoms rapidly. In contrast, those who have RLS that is not related to any other condition show a very slow progression of the disorder, particularly if they experience onset at an early age; many years may pass before symptoms occur regularly.
However, RLS has a genetic component and can be found in families where the onset of symptoms is before age Specific gene variants have been associated with RLS. Evidence indicates that low levels of iron in the brain also may be responsible for RLS.
Considerable evidence also suggests that RLS is related to a dysfunction in one of the sections of the brain that control movement called the basal ganglia that use the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine is needed to produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity and movement.
Disruption of these pathways frequently results in involuntary movements. Sleep deprivation and other sleep conditions like sleep apnea also may aggravate or trigger symptoms in some people. Reducing or completely eliminating these factors may relieve symptoms. The five basic criteria for clinically diagnosing the disorder are:.
Individuals may be asked about frequency, duration, and intensity of symptoms; if movement helps to relieve symptoms; how much time it takes to fall asleep; any pain related to symptoms; and any tendency toward daytime sleep patterns and sleepiness, disturbance of sleep, or daytime function.
Laboratory tests may rule out other conditions such as kidney failure, iron deficiency anemia which is a separate condition related to iron deficiency , or pregnancy that may be causing symptoms of RLS. Blood tests can identify iron deficiencies as well as other medical disorders associated with RLS.
Periodic limb movement of sleep during a sleep study can support the diagnosis of RLS but, again, is not exclusively seen in individuals with RLS. Diagnosing RLS in children may be especially difficult, since it may be hard for children to describe what they are experiencing, when and how often the symptoms occur, and how long symptoms last.
Pediatric RLS can sometimes be misdiagnosed as "growing pains" or attention deficit disorder. RLS symptoms worsen during periods of relaxation and decreased activity. RLS symptoms also tend to follow a set daily cycle, with the evening and night hours being more troublesome for RLS sufferers than the morning hours. The severity of symptoms varies from night to night and over the years as well. For some individuals, there may be periods when RLS does not cause problems, but the symptoms usually return.
Other people may experience severe symptoms daily. PLMS is characterized by involuntary jerking or bending leg movements during sleep that typically occur every 10 to 60 seconds. Some people may experience hundreds of such movements per night, which can wake them, disturb their sleep, and awaken bed partners. As a result of problems both in sleeping and while awake, people with RLS may have difficulties with their job, social life, and recreational activities.
Other possible characteristics involuntary leg and occasionally arm movements while asleep difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; sleepiness or fatigue during the daytime; cause of the leg discomfort not detected by medical tests; and family members with similar symptoms.
Although the cause is unknown in most cases, certain factors may be associated with Restless Legs Syndrome. RLS is known to run in some families--parents may pass the condition on to their children.
Some women experience RLS during pregnancy, especially in the last months but the symptoms usually disappear after delivery. Patients with low iron levels or anemia may be more prone to developing RLS. The symptoms may improve once the iron level or anemia is corrected. Kidney failure quite often leads to RLS. Other chronic diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and peripheral neuropathy may also be associated with RLS. Decreasing caffeine consumption may improve symptoms.
RLS occurs in both sexes. Symptoms can begin any time, but are usually more common and more severe among older people. Young people who experience symptoms of RLS are sometimes thought to have "growing pains" or may be considered "hyperactive" because they cannot easily sit still in school.
Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet
Apr 30, Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder of the part of the nervous system that causes an urge to move the legs. Because it usually interferes. Nov 11, WebMD explains some of the common triggers of restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a serious, but treatable condition. The key to living with RLS is managing the symptoms. Lifestyle changes, like limiting caffeine.