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  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

    Posted on February 23, 2013 by in Heath Care News, News

    Definition

    By Mayo Clinic staff

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which your legs feel extremely uncomfortable, typically in the evenings while you’re sitting or lying down. It makes you feel like getting up and moving around. When you do so, the unpleasant feeling of restless legs syndrome temporarily goes away.

    Restless legs syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep — leading to daytime drowsiness — and make traveling difficult.

    A number of simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help you. Medications also help many people with restless legs syndrome.

    Symptoms

    Commonly described sensations
    People typically describe restless legs syndrome symptoms as abnormal, unpleasant sensations in their calves, thighs or feet. Sometimes the sensations may be in the arms, often expressed as:

    • Crawling
    • Creeping
    • Pulling
    • Throbbing
    • Itching
    • Pain
    • Tugging
    • Gnawing
    • Burning

    Sometimes the sensations seem to defy description. Affected people usually don’t describe the condition as a muscle cramp or numbness. They do, however, consistently describe the desire to move or handle their legs.

    It’s common for symptoms to fluctuate in severity, and occasionally symptoms disappear for periods of time.

    Commonly reported patterns
    Common characteristics of RLS signs and symptoms include:

    • Onset during inactivity. The sensation typically begins after you’ve been lying down or sitting for an extended period of time, such as in a car, airplane or movie theater.
    • Relief by movement. The sensation of RLS lessens if you get up and move. People combat the sensation of restless legs in a number of ways — by stretching, jiggling their legs, pacing the floor, exercising or walking. This compelling desire to move is what gives restless legs syndrome its name.
    • Worsening of symptoms in the evening. Symptoms typically are less bothersome during the day and are felt primarily at night.
    • Nighttime leg twitching. RLS may be associated with another condition called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). PLMD causes you to involuntarily flex and extend your legs while sleeping — without being aware you’re doing it. Hundreds of these twitching or kicking movements may occur throughout the night. If you have severe RLS, these involuntary kicking movements may also occur while you’re awake. PLMS is common in older adults, even without RLS, and doesn’t always disrupt sleep. More than 4 out of 5 people with RLS also experience PLMD.

    When to see a doctor
    Some people with restless legs syndrome never seek medical attention because they worry that their symptoms are too difficult to describe or won’t be taken seriously. Some doctors wrongly attribute symptoms to nervousness, stress, insomnia or muscle cramps. But RLS has received more media attention and focus from the medical community in recent years, making more people aware of the condition.

    If you think you may have RLS, call your doctor.

    Click for Original Article

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