Restless Legs Syndrome

What is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?

Restless Legs Syndrome is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs when trying to relax or rest. Patients most often feel a tingling, crawling, or pulling sensation in their legs.

Some describe it as painful, while others describe the feeling as uncomfortable or irritating. Most patients have a difficult time falling asleep and/or staying asleep.

One or both sides of the body may be affected, and the symptoms often increase with age. Restless legs syndrome, also known as RLS or Willis-Ekbom disease is considered both a neurological disorder and a sleep disorder.

Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome

Secondary Restless Legs Syndrome

Secondary RLS is a symptom of another health problem, such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, or kidney failure. Treating the underlying condition may resolve RLS issues. Nerve damage, an iron deficiency, or a problem with the brain’s ability to use iron are other causes.

Primary Restless Legs Syndrome

Primary RLS is considered the most common and is not related to an underlying condition. It can be hereditary, but often, the cause is unknown. Certain drugs may play a role. Smoking and alcohol abuse may worsen the symptom of restless legs syndrome.

Why is RLS Such a Concern?

The symptoms of restless legs syndrome can make it extremely difficult to fall asleep or sleep through the night. Shifting position frequently in bed is common since movement helps provide relief. Many get out of bed and pace.

The resulting sleep deprivation can cause daytime sleepiness, extreme fatigue, and frustration. This puts sufferers at risk for other mental and physical health problems.

RLS can last for years or a lifetime. Some changes in lifestyle and medications can help to manage the symptoms.

Getting Help

Working with your doctor to get some relief along with some of the following recommendations may help improve your chances for a better night’s sleep.

If restless legs are keeping you from

getting enough sleep, don’t wait to get help…

Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems.