Do I have Restless Leg Syndrome?

Do you have the tendency to shake or move your legs when sitting?

Do you feel the compulsion to get up and walk when sitting for a long time?

Do you experience an urge to move while resting in bed?

Do I have restless leg syndrome

If you have experienced symptoms like the ones described above, you may have Rest Legs Syndrome.

People with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS for short) experience uncomfortable and weird sensations in their legs. These sensations cause them to want to move their legs to relieve themselves of the irritation.

In this article we will explore:

  • what Restless Legs Syndrome is,
  • common RLS symptoms,
  • how long you can expect to experience the RLS symptoms,
  • and who are the likely people to experience RLS.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome (rls)?

Restless Legs Syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekborn Disease, is often referred to as a sleep disorders due to the fact that people with RLS experience more uncomfortable sensations while they are resting or attempting to sleep. It is not hard to see why people might think rls is a sleep disorder. As the disturbed sleep often results in daytime sleepiness and excessive tiredness. However, if we were to look at the symptoms through an academic lens, it would be better defined as a neurological disorder that stems from the brain. Either way, it is a disorder that can and has been causing pain and discomfort in approximate 7 - 10% of the United States population. More importantly, it is disturbing people's sleep, and is therefore a concern for us at Sleep Quizzz.

As established earlier, it is characterized as when an individual experiences unpleasant sensations in their legs while sitting still or lying down (often when sleeping). The unpleasant sensations force the individual to get up and move their legs in order to satiate their legs. However, the relief is generally only temporary and the unpleasant symptoms return.

Restless Legs Syndrome symptoms can vary from moderate to severe and is most likely to occur during the night while resting or sleeping.

People with RLS are also highly likely to experience periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). People who have PLMS have episodes of involuntary leg and/or arm twitching during sleep. This can occur throughout the night and can happen every 30 - 45 seconds.

What are the symptoms of RLS?

There are some tell-tale symptoms of RLS, and in this section we will discuss each to help you identify if you are suffering from the condition.

restless legs syndrome symptoms

Uncomfortable Sensations in Lower Limbs

The most commonly associated symptom of restless legs syndrome is the uncomfortable feelings in the legs, which causes an overwhelming urge to move.

People with rls find it hard to describe the exact sensation they experience, however it has often been described as a pulsating throb, itch or even a crawling along the leg. Some individuals who suffer from rls described it to feel like a droplet of water slowly making its way down your leg.

The sensation is so uncomfortable, the only way to relieve this sensation is to move your legs or get up and move your body.

Increased Intensity of Sensations at Night

Another classic Restless Legs Syndrome RLS symptom is the intensity of the sensation is worse at night. This includes the period while you are falling asleep. Some people with rls say the intensity can range from minor irritation, to uncomfortable and even as intense as painful.

Sporadic Periods of Restless Legs Syndrome

Although this is not technically a symptom, we thought it would be important to bring this to the attention of people suffering from rls.

Restless Legs Syndrome doesn't always occur over a consistent period. People with rls may experience symptoms on and off. Or symptoms can reduce in intensity for a small period of time, only to get worse later.

Daytime Sleepiness and Fatigue

A common symptom that individuals with rls experience is sleepiness and fatigue. This is a direct result of the interrupted sleep the individual experiences while trying to relieve themselves while they fall asleep.

Who is likely to get Restless Legs Syndrome?

Some lifestyle and biological factors can contribute to the likelihood an individual will experience restless legs syndrome rls in their life. These are:

Gender

Restless Leg Syndrome is most likely to affect women, although it is also common among older men.

Age

Restless Legs Syndrome doesn't discriminate on age, and can occur in teenagers through to the elderly. There is a higher probably to affect middle-age to older people. Those that experience RLS in their later years will have more severe symptoms for longer periods.

Family History

Individuals who have a family history of relatives who have suffered from restless legs syndrome have a higher chance of experiencing rls throughout their lives. In fact over 40 percent of people with rls had a family relative who also suffered from rls.

Medical Conditions

Individuals who may have a certain medication prescribed by a doctor are likely to experience rls symptoms, or symptoms may get worse. These types of medication include antipsychotic, antidepressant, antinausea and anthihistamine medications.

Medication

Studies have found particular prescribed and over the counter medications can exacerbate rls symptoms. Medications for the medical conditions we noted above will cause changes in intensity of rls symptoms.

It has also been noted, sleep medicine has been linked to rls symptoms.

Lack of Nutrients

It was also been documented, people with iron deficiency are more likely to suffer from restless leg syndrome.

Lifestyle Habits

causes of rls

Other factors that may contribute to the occurrence of restless leg syndrome include the use of alcohol and caffeine in your daily consumption. Alcohol is known as a depressant, which is known to disrupt sleeping habits. On the other end of the spectrum, caffeine is a stimulant, which if consumed in large quantities can prevent the onset of a sound sleep.

How long will Restless Legs Syndrome last?

We mentioned earlier, people with restless leg syndrome can experience symptoms on a regular basis, meaning daily. Or they can experience symptoms on and off, in a sporadic fashion.

The intensity of the symptoms can also range from mild to severe, which can become confusing for a person seeking advice diagnosis or treatment. Sometimes, they may feel they are getting on top of the syndrome, but then a more severe bout of symptoms reappears.

The best rule of thumb is if the symptoms are affecting your ability to live a normal wakeful life, it is time to seek a professional to provide medical advice.

Main Takeaways

By now you should be aware of what restless legs syndrome rls is, the rls symptoms and the factors that increase the likelihood an individual experiences rls in their life.

Generally speaking, symptoms of rls include weird feelings causing you to move your limbs, the symptoms are worse at night while you sleep or try to sleep, and excessive sleepiness during the day.

There are some key biological and environmental factors that increase the likelihood of an individual suffering from restless leg syndrome. This includes factors such as family history, gender and age, with older women more likely to experience rls than men.

In line with the rest of sleep resource, Sleep Quizzz, please note this article is for informational purposes only. If you believe you may be suffering from rls it is advisable to see a local professional doctor. The doctor will be able to diagnose you with a physical examination and provide medical advice.

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The contents of Sleep Quizzz are for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to be a tool for our readers to use for self-assessment. Nothing found on our website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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