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Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system that causes you have an overwhelming urge to move your legs or other parts of the body.

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Signs & Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome makes it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. The symptoms are usually worse at night but may also occur at rest, when lying or sitting and tend to occur in the evening. The sensation is difficult for some people to describe. Patients describe these symptoms as creepy, crawly sensations, leg pains, cramps, tingling, itching, aching or uncomfortable sensations that will be temporarily relieved by movement. Therefore, if you move your legs or get up and walk around, these symptoms may go away. The discomfort may return when you try again to go to sleep. Patients may experience this intermittently or nightly and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Most people develop RLS after age 45. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop RLS. Children can also have RLS.

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Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS is a clinical diagnosis. It is subdivided into primary of secondary RLS. Primary RLS can run in families with 50% of patients reporting a family member with similar symptoms, as the risk is about three to six times greater. Secondary RLS will be due to an underlying medical cause such as iron deficiencies, peripheral neuropathies, diabetes and is sometimes related to medications.

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Other Conditions Associated with RLS

Sometimes RLS is associated with sleep apnea or narcolepsy.

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Why Seek Help for RLS

Symptoms from RLS cause patients to have difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep. The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep can lead to chronic sleep deprivation which results in impaired cognitive functioning, mood disorder, degraded learning and memory or slow reaction times.

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How To Treat RLS

A consultation with a sleep specialist is the first step to relieving symptoms. RLS can be treated successfully with medication and good sleep hygiene.

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