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May 2021 Spotlights Mental Health Awareness. May Is Mental Health Month in the United States and 10-16 May is Mental Health Awareness Week in the United Kingdom. Read more

COVID-19 anxiety management tips may help relieve our anxiety about relationships, employment, financial hardship and uncertainty. Read more

COVID-19 anxiety can challenge individuals, families, relationships, communities and countries in ways we have never been challenge before. Read more

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can connect us in new ways. The World Health Organization’s Connecting the World to Combat Coronavirus explains how. Read more

Holiday stress and depression can take the ho, ho, ho, out of this holiday time of year. Is “ho, ho, ho” the last thing you feel right now? Read more

Menopause FAQs: Sleep Pattern includes some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how sleep patterns may change during menopause. Read more

Jean Hailes March 2019 What’s Hot is the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health free monthly health article published with the permission of the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH). Read more

Jean Hailes February 2019 What’s Hot is the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health free monthly health article published with the permission of the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH). Read more

Stress at this time of the year may result in festive commitments, holidays, family and work, feeling like a burden, rather than a joy.

Stress

In Stress the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“Stress occurs when you feel you are not coping with life. We all need a little stress to motivate us to achieve or get things done. However, too much stress, particularly over a long period of time, can take its toll on your health and sense of wellbeing. Extreme stress can be so overwhelming it causes physical reactions such as nausea, diarrhoea, over eating and under eating. There are many things you can do to manage stress; it is just about finding the right strategy for you”.
Meno Martha, Stress

Stress Triggers

In Stress Management: In-Depth – Stress Management: Know Your Triggers – Know Your Stressors the (United States) Mayo Clinic explain and elaborate on:

“Effective stress management starts with identifying your sources of stress and developing strategies to manage them. One way to do this is to make a list of the situations, concerns or challenges that trigger your stress response. Take a moment to write down some of the top issues you’re facing right now. You’ll notice that some of your stressors are events that happen to you while others seem to originate from within”.

Menopause Stress

In Stress: Getting Serious About Solutions the North American Menopause Society elaborate on:

“Many women find the time around menopause stressful. This may be partially due to hormonal changes and resulting bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes and disrupted sleep. In addition, family and personal issues such as the demands of teenage children, children leaving home, aging parents, midlife spouses, and career changes often converge on women during these years”.

Coping With Stress

And if your stress is stressing you, in Coping With Stress: Tips for Self-Care the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage us to seek help:

Meno Martha, Stress

  • “Find support. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, doctor, or clergyperson. Having someone with a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden”.

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Last Updated: 27 December 2018 – Last Revised: 17 December 2018

Menopause, family caregiver plus job responsibilities, may result in feeling like a hot flushing, night sweating, sleep deprived juggler. Read more

Health Topics

“COVID-19 is the disease caused by
a new coronavirus called
SARS-CoV-2”. Read more

“Effective stress management starts with identifying your sources of stress and developing strategies to manage them. One way to do this is to make a list of…”. Read more

“Stress affects not only our health but also our relationships, work performance, general sense of well-being, and quality of life”. Read more

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

Umbrella
What may the Restless Legs Syndrome Umbrella include?

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

  • Ekbom syndrome
  • 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 called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them”.2

The (Australian) Brain Foundation and Headache Australia’s definition is:

“Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterised by unpleasant sensations in the legs and the compelling need to move the legs, usually experienced when trying to sleep. The strange sensation, usually in the calves, has been described as a type of cramp, soreness or a creeping, crawling feeling. Some liken the sensation to shooting darts of electricity, or even squirming insects inside the legs. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful”.3

Signs and Symptoms

What are common signs and symptoms of RLS?

In Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet: What Are Common Signs and Symptoms of Restless Legs? the NINDS explain:

“People with RLS feel the irresistible urge to move, which is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in their lower limbs that are unlike normal sensations experienced by people without the disorder. The sensations in their legs are often difficult to define but may be described as 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 the body, they most often affect both sides. They can also alternate between sides. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful”.4

PLMS and PLMW

What are Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS) and Periodic Limb Movements of Wakefulness (PLMW)?

DotS the definition of PLMS and PLMW may vary.In Restless Legs Syndrome: Description the (United States) Genetics Home Reference definitions are:

“Many people with restless legs syndrome also experience uncontrollable, repetitive leg movements that occur while they are sleeping or while relaxed or drowsy. When these movements occur during sleep, they are called periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS); when they occur while a person is awake, they are called periodic limb movements of wakefulness (PLMW). It is unclear whether PLMS and PLMW are features of restless legs syndrome itself or represent similar, but separate, conditions”.5

Common or Not

How common is RLS?

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

“It is estimated that up to 7-10 percent of the U.S. population may have RLS. RLS occurs in both men and women, although women are more likely to have it than men. It may begin at any age. Many individuals who are severely affected are middle-aged or older, and the symptoms typically become more frequent and last longer with age”.6

Menopause and RLS

Is there an association between menopause and RLS?

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”.7

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”.8

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”.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:

“Some people with RLS never seek medical attention because they worry they won’t be taken seriously. But RLS can interfere with your sleep and cause daytime drowsiness and affect your quality of life. Talk with your doctor if you think you may have RLS”.10

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Sources

  1. Restless Legs Syndrome Description. Brain Foundation and Headache Australia https://brainfoundation.org.au/disorders/restless-legs-syndrome/ Accessed: 24 May 2021
  2. Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet: What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? Date Last Modified: 17 March 2020. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/restless-legs-syndrome-fact-sheet Accessed: 24 May 2021
  3. Restless Legs Syndrome Description. Brain Foundation and Headache Australia https://brainfoundation.org.au/disorders/restless-legs-syndrome/ Accessed: 24 May 2021
  4. Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet: What Are Common Signs and Symptoms of Restless Legs? Date Last Modified: 17 March 2020. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/restless-legs-syndrome-fact-sheet Accessed: 24 May 2021
  5. Restless Legs Syndrome. Page Last Updated on: 18 September 2020. Page Last Reviewed: 01 May 2018. Published: 09 June 2020. Genetics Home Reference https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/restless-legs-syndrome/ Accessed: 24 May 2021
  6. Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet: What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? Date Last Modified: 17 March 2020. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/restless-legs-syndrome-fact-sheet Accessed: 24 May 2021
  7. Menopause and Insomnia: Causes – Restless Legs Syndrome. Publication: September 2018. Women’s Health Concern https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/menopause-and-insomnia/ Accessed: 24 May 2021
  8. RLS Monitor. RLS-UK https://www.rls-uk.org/rls-monitor Accessed: 24 May 2021
  9. Symptoms & Diagnosis: RLS Symptom Diary. National Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation https://www.rls.org/understanding-rls/symptoms-diagnosis Accessed: 24 May 2021
  10. Restless Legs Syndrome: Symptoms & Causes – Overview: When To See A Doctor. Mayo Clinic. 21 January 2020 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/restless-legs-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20377168 Accessed: 24 May 2021

Topic Last Updated: 18 July 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 24 May 2021

“Caring for a loved one strains even the most resilient people. If you’re a caregiver, take steps to preserve your own health and well-being”. Read more