“Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder
characterised by unpleasant sensations in the legs
and the compelling need to move the legs…”.1

Umbrella

What may the Restless Legs Syndrome Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Ekbom/’s Syndrome
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
  • Restless Legs Syndrome/Willis-Ekbom Disease (RLS/WED)
  • Willis-Ekbom Disease

Definition

What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

DotS the definition of RLS may vary. The (United States) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s (NINDS) definition is:

“Restless legs syndrome (RLS)—also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, primary RLS, and idiopathic RLS—is a neurological disorder that causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in your legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Symptoms commonly occur in the late afternoon or evening hours and are often most intense at night when you are resting. RLS can severely disrupt your sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement stops”.2

In Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Overview – What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? the (United States) Cleveland Clinic’s definition is:

Restless Legs Syndrome“Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a brain, nerve and sleep condition that causes a strong, nearly irresistible urge to move your legs that’s at least partially relieved by movement. Symptoms are more common when your body is at rest in the evening. It usually occurs in addition to uncomfortable sensations in your legs like throbbing or aching. The urge to constantly move can interfere with your ability to relax or fall asleep.

You may hear your healthcare provider call RLS restless leg syndrome or Willis-Ekbom disease”.3

Signs and Symptoms

What are common signs and symptoms of RLS?

In Restless Legs Syndrome: What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? Common Signs and Symptoms of RLS the NINDS explain:

“If you have RLS, you may feel an irresistible urge to move, which is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in your lower limbs that are unlike normal sensations experienced by someone without the disorder. The sensations in your legs may feel like aching, throbbing, pulling, itching, crawling, or creeping. These sensations less commonly affect the arms, and rarely the chest or head. Although the sensations can occur on just one side of your body, they most often affect both sides”.4

Common or Not

How common is RLS?

In Restless Legs Syndrome: What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? the NINDS explain:

“It is estimated that up to seven to 10 percent of the U.S. population may have RLS, which can begin at any age. It occurs in both males and females, although females are more likely to have it. Many individuals who are severely affected are middle-aged or older, and the symptoms typically become more frequent and last longer with age”.5

Menopause and RLS

Is there an association between menopause and RLS?

On page two in Menopause and Insomnia: Causes – Restless Legs Syndrome the (British) Women’s Health Concern explain:

“One study of RLS patients found 69 per cent of post-menopausal women perceived their symptoms as worse than before menopause. However, it is not clear whether restless leg syndrome contributes to sleep disturbance, or if women who are not sleeping well are more aware of the problem”.6

Restless Legs SyndromeLook for A Pattern

How may I Look for A Pattern with RLS?

In RLS Monitor the (United Kingdom) RLS-UK elaborate on:

“During a medical consultation there is limited time available and it can be hard to accurately look back and relay when our symptoms were at their worst. With this in mind, ‘My RLS Monitor’ has been developed, a seven-day tracker for symptoms to allow you to report your symptoms more comprehensively to your doctor and allow both you and your medical practitioner to spot patterns and/or to help compare these symptoms with previous monitoring and to help keep a track on medication”.7

Restless Legs Syndrome

In Symptoms & Diagnosis: RLS Symptom Diary the (United States) Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation elaborate on:

“The RLS Symptom Diary is a convenient tool to record information on your daily symptoms such as when they occur, how long they last and possible triggers such as nicotine, alcohol or caffeine”.8

Treatment

How is RLS treated?

In Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Management and Treatment – How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Treated? the Cleveland Clinic explain:

“Treatment for RLS may include taking medications or changing your routine at home to help relieve your symptoms. Some people may reduce their symptoms if they work with their healthcare provider to manage other underlying health conditions. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the treatment options that might be best for you, as well as any side effects to look out for”.9

Health Care Provider

What if I thinks I have RLS?

If you think you have RLS, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. Together you can discuss your options and if required, agree on who may be the most appropriate health care provider to help you.

In Restless Legs Syndrome: Symptoms & Causes – Overview: When To See A Doctor the (United States) Mayo Clinic encourage us to seek help:

“Talk with your healthcare professional if you have symptoms of restless legs syndrome. RLS can interfere with your sleep, cause daytime drowsiness and affect your quality of life”.10

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics A-Z related to Restless Legs Syndrome?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Restless Legs Syndrome?

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Restless Legs Syndrome: Description. Brain Foundation and Headache Australia https://brainfoundation.org.au/disorders/restless-legs-syndrome/ Accessed: 25 June 2024
  2. Restless Legs Syndrome: What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/restless-legs-syndrome Accessed: 25 June 2024
  3. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Overview – What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? Cleveland Clinic. 11 September 2023 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9497-restless-legs-syndrome Accessed: 25 June 2024
  4. Restless Legs Syndrome: What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? Common Signs and Symptoms of RLS? National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/restless-legs-syndrome Accessed: 25 June 2024
  5. Restless Legs Syndrome: What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/restless-legs-syndrome-fact-sheet Accessed: 25 June 2024
  6. Menopause and Insomnia: Causes – Restless Legs Syndrome. Publication Date: September 2021:2. Women’s Health Concern https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/menopause-and-insomnia/ Accessed: 25 June 2024
  7. RLS Monitor. RLS-UK https://www.rls-uk.org/rls-monitor Accessed: 25 June 2024
  8. Symptoms & Diagnosis: RLS Symptom Diary. National Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation https://www.rls.org/understanding-rls/symptoms-diagnosis Accessed: 25 June 2024
  9. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Management and Treatment – How Is RLS Treated? Cleveland Clinic. 11 September 2023 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9497-restless-legs-syndrome Accessed: 25 June 2024
  10. Restless Legs Syndrome: Symptoms & Causes – Overview: When To See A Doctor. Mayo Clinic. 26 January 2024 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/restless-legs-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20377168 Accessed: 25 June 2024
Topic Last Updated: 25 June 2024 – Topic Last Reviewed: 25 June 2024

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