Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that causes unpleasant sensations, such as an uncontrollable need to move or shake the legs, or a “crawling” sensation in the legs. RLS occurs more often in women than men. It may begin at any age, but patients with severe symptoms are usually middle-age or older.
More than 80% of people with RLS also have a more common condition known as periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). PLMD involves leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep.
Causes, incidence & risk
In most cases the cause of RLS is unknown. Sometimes conditions such as Iron Deficiency, can increase the severity of RLS, but are not the cause. Too much caffeine can also worsen RLS symptoms. Other causes are renal failure, diabetes, and certain medications.
- Sensations in the legs, often described as burning, creeping, tugging or crawling, that appear to be aggravated by lying down or trying to relax.
- Inability to get to sleep or stay to sleep at night because of an inability to keep the legs still.
There are no specific tests for the diagnosis of RLS. The diagnosis is made based on symptoms reported by the patient and by ruling out any other possible cause.
There are currently several medications available for the treatment of RLS. No one medication is right for everyone, and sometimes more than one medication has to be tried to relieve symptoms. Diet supplements may be recommended. Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided, as they may worsen symptoms.