Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. The condition can range from mild to severe based on:
- How much discomfort you have in your legs and arms
- Whether you feel the need to move around
- How much relief you get from moving around
- How much sleep disturbance you have
- How tired or sleepy you are during the day
- How often you have symptoms
- How severe your symptoms are on most days
- How well you carry out daily activities
- How angry, depressed, sad, anxious, or irritable you feel.
People with restless legs syndrome often have difficulty falling asleep because symptoms are intensified by inactivity and lying down. Therefore, people with this condition often don't get enough sleep and may feel tired and sleepy during the day, which can cause difficulty with:
- Learning and remembering new things
- Carrying out usual daily activities
- Taking part in family and social activities.
Not getting enough sleep can also make you feel depressed or cause mood swings.
Key information about restless legs syndrome includes the following:
- Restless legs syndrome is a sensory disorder causing an almost irresistible urge to move the legs. The urge to move the legs is usually due to unpleasant feelings in the legs that occur when at rest. Movement eases the feelings, but only for a while.
- Symptoms of restless legs syndrome can range from mild to severe. Symptoms usually begin during childhood and tend to get worse over time.
- People with restless legs syndrome may describe the unpleasant feelings in their legs as creeping, crawling, tingling, burning, or painful. The feelings are often hard to describe.
- Many people with restless legs syndrome also have periodic limb movement disorder. This is a condition in which a person's legs twitch or jerk uncontrollably every 10 to 60 seconds and usually happens during sleep.
- Restless legs syndrome can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. People with this condition may feel tired and sleepy during the day.
- There are two types of restless legs syndrome: primary and secondary. In primary restless legs syndrome, the cause is not known. Secondary restless legs syndrome is caused by another disease or condition or, sometimes, by taking certain medicines.
- Restless legs syndrome is common in pregnant women. It usually occurs during the last three months of pregnancy and usually improves or disappears within a few weeks after delivery.
- Lifestyle changes can improve and relieve symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Lifestyle changes may be the only treatment needed for mild symptoms.
- Medications can help treat more severe symptoms of restless legs syndrome. No single medicine is helpful in all cases, and it may take several changes in medicines and dosages to find the best approach.