National Sleep Foundation Co-sponsors RLS Educational Initiative with Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
New Educational Initiative Aims to Raise Awareness about a Medical Condition That Affects Millions of Americans
ROCHESTER, Minn. and WASHINGTON, Sept. 18— For the first time, the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation (RLS Foundation) and National Sleep Foundation (NSF) have joined together on a new national initiative about restless legs syndrome (RLS) to help increase awareness and understanding of the condition. The initiative, which includes the first-ever public service announcement to address RLS and a unique educational website WhatisRLS.org, will launch in time for RLS Awareness Week, taking place September 21 -27.
Approximately 10 percent of American adults have RLS, a common neurological condition. Despite years of research and increased disease recognition, RLS is still often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. RLS is characterized by an urge to move the legs, making it difficult to relax, sit, or even sleep. As a result of the creepy, crawly uncomfortable sensations common with the condition, many people are unable to get good sleep, and therefore, experience daytime sleepiness, mood disturbance and difficulty performing daily activities.
The initiative, which is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., features people living with RLS who describe how their daily activities and overall quality of life are negatively impacted by the condition. Each person’s experience with RLS is different and their symptoms vary in severity, frequency and duration.
Lynne, age 44, is featured in the initiative. "My RLS symptoms are painful, severe and can only be relieved by moving around. RLS impacts my life dramatically and prevents me from getting the sleep I need, having a career and even being the wife and mother I want to be."
"The RLS Foundation and National Sleep Foundation are proud of their partnership to bring a face, and a voice, to RLS, a real, yet manageable medical condition. It is crucial that people realize RLS seriously impacts the lives of those who have it, and their families," said Georgianna Bell, executive director of the RLS Foundation.
"RLS can dramatically impact sleep, and lack of sleep greatly affects health, safety, productivity, mood and overall well-being. We hope that the public service announcements and WhatisRLS.org will raise the much needed awareness about RLS and encourage those who suffer from it to speak to a health care professional," added David Cloud, chief executive officer of NSF.
The public service announcements will appear on television, radio, and in newspapers and magazines. Additional educational information and in-depth testimonials of those in the public service announcements are available on WhatisRLS.org. The website also features a search tool for finding local health care professionals who specialize in RLS and related conditions, a symptom diary to track RLS symptoms, and tips to help start a conversation about RLS with a health care professional.
"I hope that by telling my story, I will inspire others living with RLS, especially those who may be suffering in silence, to know they are not alone," continued Lynne.
Visit WhatisRLS.org to learn more about Lynne and others who live with RLS.
About Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome, or RLS, is a serious, but treatable condition. Approximately 10 percent of Americans suffer from this neurological sensorimotor disorder, which causes uncomfortable and sometimes painful tingling and tugging sensations in the legs.
People with RLS often feel as though they have to move their legs, by walking or stretching, in order to make the uncomfortable feelings go away. These sensations tend to get worse with inactivity, sitting for a long time or even just relaxing, such as when watching television or taking a long car ride. Because the symptoms usually intensify in the evening and at night, they often interfere with the ability to sleep.
Everyone experiences RLS differently, so it is important to work with a heath care professional to diagnose and determine the best way to control RLS symptoms. For people who are unable to find symptom relief through lifestyle changes, medical treatments are available.
About the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
The RLS Foundation was created in 1989 when eight people with the condition began sharing letters and discussing their little known condition. In 1992, the Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit organization to address the growing need for research and information about RLS. Their goals were simple and yet groundbreaking: increase awareness, improve treatments, and, through research, find a cure for RLS, a condition which severely affects the lives of millions of individuals.. The Foundation has grown from a simple volunteer staff to a staff of seven employees at their Rochester, Minnesota location. For more information, visit rls.org.
About National Sleep Foundation
Established in 1990, National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is an independent nonprofit organization committed to alerting the public, healthcare providers and policymakers to the life-and-death importance of adequate sleep. The priorities of NSF are to improve the quality of life for Americans who suffer from sleep problems and disorders and to improve public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, education, research, and advocacy. This means helping everyone better understand the importance of sleep, the benefits of good sleep habits, and recognizing the signs of sleep problems so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated. For more information, visit sleepfoundation.org.