Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is an irresistible urge to move the legs, and this movement temporarily relieves a leg discomfort that is worse at night and during periods of inactivity.  It is also a very common disorder, like sleep apnea, that is easily diagnosed and treated, but also easily missed.

Although RLS is a disease of awake patients, this illness can cause insomnia, at times severely.  RLS can also be disruptive in social situations when the patient must sit for extended periods of time, such as at a public function or during long travel in a plane, bus, or car.  RLS is usually mild and may not have to be treated with drugs. In some cases, it can be very severe and can require expert care and multiple medications.

Restless Legs Syndrome can be familial and usually arises before age 30, often in childhood, where it can be confused with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  RLS can also be associated with other disorders: iron deficiency, pregnancy, renal failure, and peripheral neuropathy.  Treating or resolving the associated disorder can greatly improve or cure the RLS.

Unfortunately, many medicines can worsen RLS, including antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-nausea drugs, and major tranquilizers. Alcohol and caffeine are also offenders.


Books on Restless Leg Syndrome:

  • Restless Legs Syndrome by Robert H. Yoakum (2006)
  • Restless Legs Syndrome: Coping with Your Sleepless Nights by Mark Buchfuhrer (2006)
  • Restless Legs Syndrome: The RLS Rebel’s Survival Guide by Jill Gunzel (2006)
  • 100 Questions and Answers about Restless Legs Syndrome by Sudhansu Chokroverty (2010)

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