Sleep Disorders Patient Education
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a serious, but treatable condition. The key to living with RLS is managing the symptoms. Lifestyle changes, like limiting caffeine and alcohol, taking iron supplements or a hot bath, or initiating an exercise plan, and seeing a heath care professional to discuss treatment options can help.
How is RLS treated? For many people with RLS, prevention is the first step towards managing symptoms. People may work with their health care professional to develop a variety of lifestyle changes and activities to reduce symptoms.
What causes RLS? In July of 2007, researchers discovered a gene variant for RLS, which helps explain why it may be traced through generations in families. Researchers believe this gene increases one’s risk for a type of hereditary RLS, known as primary or familial RLS.
How do I know if I have RLS?
While there are no lab tests to diagnose RLS, your heath care professional may be able to make an official diagnosis given your responses to several simple questions about your symptoms. These include:
- Do you have an urge to move your legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable leg sensations?
What is the RLS Symptom Diary? The RLS Symptom Diary is a convenient place to write down details about your daily symptoms, such as what time you first start to notice them and how long they last, and it is also a good way to keep track of the symptoms you experience.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is like a fingerprint; everyone's experience with it is unique. Some people call RLS the "frantic muscles" or "jitters." Some people may describe it as aching, tingling sensations deep within their legs, while others may say they feel like lightning is running through their veins.
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, or you wake up feeling unrefreshed, you may be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is a symptom. It may be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, disease, pain, medications, sleep disorders or poor sleep habits. Your sleep environment and health habits may also play a role in your sleep problems.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic sensorimotor disorder that is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest. The urge to move the legs is usually, but not always, accompanied by unpleasant sensations. It is less common but possible to have RLS symptoms in the arms, face, torso, and genital region.
For most people, dreams are purely a "mental" activity: they occur in the mind while the body is at rest. But people who suffer from REM behavior disorder (RBD) act out their dreams. They physically move limbs or even get up and engage in activities associated with waking. Some talk, shout, scream, hit, punch, or fly out of bed while sleeping!