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restless leg syndrome

Restless legs syndrome or Periodic Leg Movement Disorder, is a neurological condition affecting as many as 2% to 5% of the population. It is described as discomfort in your legs and on rare occasions in your arms. Symptoms can occur at any age although are more severe in older people. Patients describe the symptoms as a cramping, tingling, creping crawling feeling, which can be prickly and painful.

RLS can tend to occur when the person is sitting for a prolonged period of time such as in a car, at the movies, on a plane or at a desk. RLS can also occur when lying down relaxing before trying to get to sleep. RLS is described as a strong irresistible urge to move limbs to relieve the symptoms and there is often no way to resist this. As a result most people with restless legs have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, causing exhaustion and daytime fatigue.

Periodic leg Movement disorder is a more common condition than RLS, the difference being the leg movement is involuntary. PLMD presents as a twitching or jerking movement during sleep. There is usually a pattern to this movement occurring every 10 to 60 seconds throughout the night, causing repeated sleep disturbances and awakenings resulting in severely disrupted sleep.

For more information on causes, diagnosis and treatment of Restless Legs/Periodic Leg Movement Disorder, click on the links below:

Sleep Health Foundation – Restless Legs PDF

Sleep Health Foundation – Periodic Leg Movement Disorder PDF

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