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Restless Legs Syndrome Risk Factors

Some people are at a higher risk of developing restless legs syndrome (RLS) than others. For example, RLS occurs more often in women than in men. Other restless legs syndrome risk factors include increasing age, northern European ancestry, and pregnancy.

An Introduction to Restless Legs Syndrome Risk Factors

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) affects approximately 12 million people in the United States.
There are certain conditions and medications that can cause restless legs syndrome.

(Click Restless Legs Syndrome Causes for more information.)
There are also certain things that can increase a person's chance of developing restless legs syndrome. These are called risk factors. Risk factors for restless legs syndrome include:
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race/ethnic group
  • Pregnancy.
Restless Legs Syndrome Risk Factors: Gender
RLS affects both men and women, but it occurs more often in women than in men.
Restless Legs Syndrome Risk Factors: Age
In most cases, restless legs syndrome occurs in people who are middle-aged or older. However, in up to two out of every five cases, RLS symptoms begin before age 20. People who develop symptoms of restless legs syndrome early in life usually have a family history of the disorder.
Restless Legs Syndrome Risk Factors: Race/Ethnic Group
Restless legs syndrome can affect people of any race or ethnic group. The disorder is more common in people of northern European descent.
Restless Legs Syndrome Risk Factors: Pregnancy
Restless legs syndrome is common in pregnant women. RLS usually occurs during the last three months of pregnancy and usually improves or disappears within a few weeks after delivery.
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Information on Restless Legs Syndrome

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