syndrome (RLS) is a disorder related to sensation and movement. People with
restless legs syndrome have an unpleasant feeling or sensation in parts of their bodies
when they lie down to sleep. Most people also have a very strong urge to move, and moving sometimes makes them feel better. But all this
movement makes it hard or impossible to get enough sleep.
Restless legs syndrome usually affects the legs. But it can cause unpleasant feelings in the arms, torso, or even a phantom limb (the part of a limb that has been amputated).
don't get enough sleep, you may start to have problems getting things done
during the day because you're so tired. You may also be sleepy or have trouble
concentrating. So it's important to see your doctor and get help to manage your
isn't a clear reason for restless legs. The problem often runs in families.
Sometimes there is a clear cause, like not getting enough iron. If that's the
case, treating the cause may solve the problem.
get restless legs while they are pregnant.
Other problems that are sometimes linked to
restless legs syndrome include kidney failure,
diabetes, nerve damage, anemia, and
Parkinson's disease. But most people who seek
treatment do not have any of these other problems.
Restless legs syndrome
makes you feel like you must move a part of your body, usually your legs. These feelings are often described
as tingling, "pins and needles," prickling, pulling, or crawling.
Moving will usually make you feel better, at least for a
short time. This problem usually happens at night when you are trying to relax
or go to sleep.
After you fall asleep, your legs or arms may begin to jerk
or move. These movements are called periodic limb movements. They can wake you
from sleep, which adds to your being overtired. Although periodic limb movement
is considered a separate condition, it often happens to people who have
restless legs syndrome.
the hardest things about having restless legs syndrome is getting to the diagnosis.
Often doctors don't ask about sleep or don't ask about the symptoms of restless
legs. If you're not sleeping well, or if you think you may have restless legs
syndrome, tell your doctor.
Your doctor will talk with you about
your symptoms to make sure that the feelings you describe are
typical of restless legs syndrome and are not caused by some other problem.
You may have blood tests to rule out other problems that could be causing
your symptoms. In some cases, the doctor may order tests of your nerves to be
sure there is no nerve damage. Your doctor may also order a sleep study called
polysomnography. This test records how often your legs
jerk or move while you sleep.