Restless Legs Syndrome Channel
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Restless Legs Syndrome

How Is It Diagnosed?

There are no tests available to detect restless legs syndrome. Therefore, RLS can be hard to diagnose because it is easily confused with other conditions.
In order to make a restless legs syndrome diagnosis, your doctor will:
  • Take a complete medical history
  • Do a complete physical examination
  • Order other tests.
The diagnosis of RLS usually requires the following four conditions to be present:
  • An urge to move the legs due to an unpleasant feeling in them 
  • Leg pain that begins or worsens when you are at rest or not moving around frequently
  • Leg pain that is partly or completely relieved by continuous movement (such as walking or stretching)
  • Leg pain that is worse in the evening and at night, or only occurs in the evening or at night.

Current Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome

There is no cure for restless legs syndrome. However, an underlying disease or condition, such as peripheral neuropathy or diabetes, may be causing it. Treating the underlying disease can relieve many of the symptoms of RLS.
For people who have restless legs syndrome and do not have an underlying disease or condition, treatment will focus on symptom relief.

(Click Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome for more information.)

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep

Many people with restless legs syndrome also have a related sleep disorder called periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). People with PLMS oftentimes jerk or bend their legs unintentionally during sleep. These movements happen every 10 to 60 seconds throughout the night. PLMS can wake a person from sleep, disturb sleep, and wake bed partners. People who have both restless legs syndrome and PLMS have trouble falling and staying asleep, and can have extreme sleepiness during the day.

(Click Periodic Limb Movement Disorder for more information.)
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Information on Restless Legs Syndrome

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