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Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless Leg Syndrome Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is often described as irresistible leg jerks or movements accompanied by a crawling, tingling or prickling sensation deep in the limbs. Patients with RLS have difficulty falling asleep, often laying in bed vigorously stretching, flexing, crossing or rubbing their legs. The intensity of these leg movements and sensations can vary from one individual to the next.

RLS occurs in roughly 5% of the general population, although the incidence may be even higher and unreported. The severity of RLS can vary throughout an individual’s lifetime with sudden remissions lasting for months and sometimes years.

Causes & Symptoms of Insomnia

The cause of restless legs syndrome is unknown. It can run in families, and thus there is likely a genetic base to some cases. RLS can also be related to low iron (anemia). In addition, some children with chronic diseases, such as kidney disease and diabetes, are at incrased risk for developing RLS.

Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome patients commonly describe the symptoms as including:

  • Leg discomfort (described as creepy, crawly or painful tingling)
  • Involuntary leg jerks or movements
  • Sleep disruption (trouble falling and staying asleep)
  • Bedtime behavior problems (children)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day

When to See the Sleep Center

Restless legs syndrome is a real disorder that has real consequences when left untreated. While there is no definitive test for RLS, a diagnosis is made based on the description of symptoms. A medical history and physical examination will also be done to exclude other problems, such as iron deficiency.

An overnight sleep study may be recommended to evaluate for other sleep disorders, such as PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, a variation of RLS). That's why visiting a comprehensive sleep center like Sleep Center of the Rockies® is important. Many sleep labs cannot provide treatment for all sleep disorders.

Treatment

Medication may be recommended when significant sleep disruption is occurring.

An overnight sleep study may be recommended to evaluate for other sleep disorders, such as PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, a variation of RLS). That's why visiting a comprehensive sleep center like Sleep Center of the Rockies® is important. Many sleep labs cannot provide treatment for all sleep disorders.

Contact the Sleep Center of the Rockies® to find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia. There is no reason that you cannot get on a path to good health through better sleep!