Restless Legs Syndrome

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Fri, 06/25/2010

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes a strong urge to move the legs, which occurs due to unpleasant feelings in the legs. Leg moment temporarily provides to relieve from this feeling.

People with RLS describe an unpleasant feeling as tingling, creeping, crawling, pulling, itching, aching, burning, or electric shocks. Sometimes, this feeling also occurs in the arms.

The urge to move with unpleasant feelings occurs during resting and inactive. It tends to be worsening in the evening and at night and are slightly relieved in the morning.

What is Restless legs syndrome?

RLS can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, so people with RLS feel tired and sleepy during the day. Poor sleep quality affects normal routine life and a low performance in learning or work. Furthermore, not getting enough sleep can cause depression, mood swings, or other health conditions.

RLS can consider as mild to severe based on:

  • Severity of the symptoms, and the frequency of occurrence
  • How easily movement relieves the symptoms.
  • How much of the symptom affects the quality and quantity of sleep?

Different types of RLS based on its cause

  • RLS that starts early in life (before 45 years) and mostly run in families. This type of RLS may even start in childhood. This RLS tends to last for the rest of the life. Over time, RLS symptoms worsen and occur more often. Mild case of RLS may have long time without symptoms.
  • RLS starts later in life (after 45 years) mostly do not run in families. It tends to have a sudden onset. RLS symptoms usually do not get to worsen with age.
  • Some disease conditions, and medication may also trigger RLS. For example, kidney failure, Parkinson disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, and iron deficiency are some disease conditions that are links with RLS. In this case, of RLS, the symptoms usually occur suddenly.

If a condition or medication that develops RLS, it may go away if this condition is relieved or stopped. For example, RLS that develops due to pregnancy will go away after giving birth. Kidney transplants to relieve RLS develop due to kidney failure.

Treatments for RLS include lifestyle modification and medication. Lifestyle modification helps to relieve mild cases; medication can relieve or prevent the symptoms of more severe RLS.