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Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes a powerful urge to move your legs. Your legs become uncomfortable when you are lying down or sitting. Some people describe it as a creeping, crawling, tingling, or burning sensation. Moving makes your legs feel better, but not for long. RLS can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.

In most cases, there is no known cause for RLS. In other cases, RLS is caused by a disease or condition, such as anemia or pregnancy. Some medicines can also cause temporary RLS. Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol may make symptoms worse.

Lifestyle changes, such as regular sleep habits, relaxation techniques, and moderate exercise during the day can help. If those don't work, medicines may reduce the symptoms of RLS.

Most people with RLS also have a condition called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). PLMD is a condition in which a person's legs twitch or jerk uncontrollably, usually during sleep. PLMD and RLS can also affect the arms.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Restless Legs

The following features are indicative of Restless Legs:
  • exhaustion
  • unable to concentrate
  • impaired memory
  • irresistible urge to move
  • uncomfortable sensations in their lower limbs
  • aching throbbing sensations
  • difficulty falling asleep
It is possible that Restless Legs shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Restless Legs

The following are the most common causes of Restless Legs:
  • hormonal changes
  • heredity factor
  • an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine
  • pregnancy

Risk Factors for Restless Legs

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Restless Legs:
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • iron deficiency
  • kidney failure

Prevention of Restless Legs

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Restless Legs. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • limit caffeine intake
  • avoid alcohol consumption

Occurrence of Restless Legs

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Restless Legs cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Restless Legs can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Restless Legs can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Restless Legs

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Restless Legs:
  • Physical and neurological exam: To diagnose the restless legs syndrome
  • Blood tests: To detect the iron deficiency
  • Polysomnography: To detect the presence of other causes of sleep disruption

Doctor for Diagnosis of Restless Legs

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Restless Legs:
  • Neurologist

Complications of Restless Legs if untreated

Yes, Restless Legs causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Restless Legs is left untreated:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • decrease in work productivity
  • traveling difficult
  • difficult to fall asleep

Self-care for Restless Legs

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Restless Legs:
  • Maintain regular sleep pattern: Helps in relieving symptoms of restless legs syndrome
  • Aerobic and leg-stretching exercises: Provides relief from mild symptoms of restless legs syndrome
  • Soaking in a warm bath and massage: Relax your muscles
  • Avoid caffeine: Helps in alleviating symptoms of restless legs syndrome

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Restless Legs

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Restless Legs:
  • Regular massage: Helps in relieving the symptoms of restless legs syndrome
  • Apply warm or cool packs: Lowers your limb sensations

Patient Support for Treatment of Restless Legs

The following actions may help Restless Legs patients:
  • Tell others about your condition: Makes you feel comfortable and better
  • Keep a sleep diary: Helps in combating with the syndrome
  • Join support groups: Helps in coping with the syndrome

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Restless Legs.

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