Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs, as well as inability to concentrate, memory impairment, and failure to complete daily tasks. Moderate to severe RLS can result in a 20% reduction in work productivity.
What are common signs and symptoms of restless legs?
Because moving the legs (or other affected parts of the body) relieves the discomfort, some people with RLS keep their legs moving to minimize discomfort.
What causes restless legs syndrome?
RLS appears to be related to or accompany the following factors or underlying conditions, and it can be found in families where onset occurs before the age of 40. It also appears to be related to or accompany the following factors or underlying conditions.
How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed?
Resting Leg Syndrome (RLS) is diagnosed based on a person’s description of symptoms, triggers, and relieving factors; however, RLS is frequently misdiagnosed as “growing pains” or attention deficit disorder.
How is restless legs syndrome treated?
An underlying medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy or iron deficiency anemia, can cause RLS.
No single medication for RLS is effective for everyone, and medications taken on a regular basis may lose their effectiveness over time or worsen the condition, necessitating medication changes. Lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and tobacco, exercising regularly, and massaging the legs can all help.
What is the prognosis for people with restless legs syndrome?
Current treatments can help to control the disorder, reduce symptoms, and increase the amount of time people spend sleeping soundly. Symptoms may worsen with age, though they may worsen more quickly in people who also have a medical condition.
What research is being done?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) funds research into restless leg syndrome (RLS). NINDS-funded researchers are looking into the role of endothelial cells in regulating cerebral iron metabolism. Dopamine agents are used to treat RLS, Parkinson’s disease, and other movement disorders, but they can cause impulse control problems.
Where can I get more information?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services; contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network (BRAIN) at 800-352-9424 for more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by NIH.
How do I know if I have restless leg syndrome?
The following are the five basic RLS diagnostic criteria:
- An overwhelming desire to move your legs, especially when accompanied by unpleasant or unusual feelings.
- An urge that begins or worsens while you’re at rest.
- An urge that goes away, partially or completely, when you move.
- An urge that begins or worsens in the evening.
What triggers restless leg syndrome?
RLS has a genetic component and can be found in families where the onset of symptoms is before the age of 40. Specific gene variants have been linked to RLS, and evidence suggests that low levels of iron in the brain may also be responsible for RLS.
What mimics restless leg syndrome?
Anxiety and depression can both cause agitation and leg restlessness, and certain antidepressant drugs, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can increase periodic limb movements during sleep.
Is Restless Leg Syndrome painful?
Restless leg syndrome ( RLS, restless legs syndrome ) is a common cause of painful legs that improves with movement and worsens at rest. Restless leg syndrome also causes symptoms and leg pain to worsen in the early evening or later at night.
Does drinking water help restless legs?
Avoiding stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially before bed, and drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration may also help with reducing symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
What happens if restless leg syndrome goes untreated?
RLS can cause depression, exhaustion, and daytime fatigue if left untreated. People with RLS experience unpleasant sensations in their legs, especially when sitting or lying down, and an irresistible urge to move the affected limb.
Can ibuprofen help restless leg syndrome?
Painkillers: Ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), may help with mild symptoms of RLS. Alpha 2 agonists: These may help in cases of primary RLS, but they will have no effect on periodic limb movement during sleep.
What foods trigger restless leg syndrome?
Caffeine-containing foods and beverages, such as coffee and tea, may stimulate your nerves and aggravate RLS. You should also limit or avoid fattening foods, such as:
- Soda, fried foods, processed foods, high-sugar foods
Is Restless Leg Syndrome serious?
Restless legs syndrome is not life threatening, but it can disrupt sleep (causing insomnia) and cause anxiety and depression. Restless Leg Syndrome UK is a charity that provides information and support to people who suffer from the condition.
What vitamins help restless leg syndrome?
Vitamin D supplements reduced RLS symptoms in people with RLS and vitamin D deficiency ( 9 ), and vitamins C and E supplements may help people on hemodialysis relieve RLS symptoms (4, 10 ). Supplementing with iron or vitamins D, C, or E can help certain people with RLS.
Can dehydration cause restless leg syndrome?
Dehydration from a lack of water intake can aggravate RLS, so in addition to avoiding diuretics like the caffeine sources listed above, you should also avoid nighttime alcohol consumption and drink plenty of sparkling water, filtered water, or decaffeinated teas during the day.
Why does my whole body feel like restless leg syndrome?
Around 80% of people with RLS also have periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS), which causes involuntary leg twitching or jerking during sleep that can last all night. Symptoms like RLS are caused by peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, and kidney failure. Treating the underlying condition often helps.
Why does restless leg syndrome occur at night?
RLS has no known cause, but researchers believe it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain called dopamine, which sends messages to control muscle movement.
How should you sleep with restless legs?
Here are ten things you can do to alleviate RLS symptoms and improve your sleep:
- Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine for at least several hours before bedtime.
- Talk to your doctor about all of your medications (prescription and nonprescription).
Do bananas help with restless leg syndrome?
RLS is often associated with a lack of iron in the body, so it’s possible that the high iron content in bananas helps to alleviate the symptoms.