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February 25, 2009 at 1:13 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Restless Legs Syndrome FAQs

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome, RLS, Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome, Ekbom's Syndrome. It doesn't matter what you call it, they all define the same irresistible urge you feel that causes your body to stop uncomfortable sensations. You never thought it would happen to you . . .

Do I have RLS?

Here is a list of commonly asked questions when someone tries to self-diagnosis himself. If you can answer "yes" to most of these questions, you may have Restless Legs Syndrome.

  • Do family members have similar complaints?
  • Do you feel better when you move your legs?
  • Do you find it difficult to concentrate throughout the day?
  • Do your jerking movements of your legs keep you awake?
  • Do medical tests reveal no physical cause of your symptoms?
  • Do you have involuntary leg movements when you're awake?
  • Do you find the sensation to move your legs impossible to resist?
  • Do you feel the need to move more often when you rest or sit still?
  • Do you have a strong desire to move your legs when you sit or lie down?
  • Do these words describe your sensations: crawly, creeping, creepy, gnawing, itching, jerky, jumping, jumpy, pulling, tugging, unpleasant?
  • Do you complain of these symptoms during the night?

How Common is Restless Legs Syndrome?

RLS is suspected to affect about 10% of Americans, thus interrupting millions of individual lives.

Where can RLS affect you?

You know all too well the feeling of your jumpy or jerky legs. Or perhaps you have these same sensations in your torso or arms. RLS isn't strictly found in legs.

Can RLS be Misdiagnosed?

Symptoms commonly associated with varicose veins (burning, cramping, itching, throbbing, and restlessness) may be confused with Restless Leg Syndrome. Is it Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS) or RLS? PLMS has similar symptoms of RLS. With PLMS, you have jerks every 20 - 30 seconds on and off during the night.

How is RLS treated?

There are four classes of meds used for RLS and they include anticonvulsants, dopaminergic agents, pain relievers, and sleeping aids. You should remember all prescription medications come with side effects. Be sure to discuss all the information with your health care professional.

What are Some Self-Help Treatments for RLS?

If you would like to treat your RLS symptoms naturally, try these suggestions:

  • Live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • Choose activities that help take your mind off of RLS.
  • Avoid foods (alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and soft drinks) that aggravate RLS symptoms.
  • Exercise (moderate exercise seems to help ease symptoms; strenuous exercise seems to worsen symptoms).
  • Avoid medicines (antihistamines, antidepressants, psychiatric meds, anti-dizzy meds, and anti-nausea meds) that aggravate RLS symptoms.

What else should I know about RLS?

  • RLS runs in families.
  • Anemia worsens RLS.
  • There is no known cause of RLS.
  • Peripheral neuropathy aggravates RLS sufferers.
  • RLS is found in people who need dialysis for renal disease.
  • RLS has been shown in recent studies to be linked with ADHD.
  • RLS more often affects middle-aged adults, but can affect any age.
  • Almost 25% of all pregnant women develop RLS, but symptoms disappear after delivery.


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