Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

The short answer to this question is: we’re not exactly sure. In fact, a single unifying cause of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) has yet to be established. We do know is that there are many potential causes for RLS, including pregnancy, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, not to mention medications such as antihistamines, anti-depressants, and a certain class of high blood pressure medicine.

RLS is considered a disruptive neurologic disorder, affecting approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population. It occurs in men and women, though the incidence is twice as high in women. RLS is not diagnosed through laboratory testing, but rather through evaluation of symptoms.

According to the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group, the four primary features of RLS are:
An urge to move, usually due to uncomfortable sensations that occur primarily in the legs

Motor restlessness (expressed as activity) that relieves the urge to move

Worsening of symptoms by relaxation

Variability over the course of the day-night cycle, with symptoms worse in the evening and early in the night

About 40 percent of people with RLS have problems with their veins. In our next post, we’ll discuss the possible links between venous disease and RLS.

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