Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Just as the name suggests, RLS affects mostly the legs, but also can affect the arms. Many peoples' experiences are different, but a common feeling of "creepy, crawly" sensations can be felt in the legs when they are lying still. This occurs most often at bedtime, but can be experienced during daytime hours as well.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

PLMD, which also affects the limbs, happens most often when a person is sleeping and is involuntary in nature. Generally one is unaware of the movements, which come in periodic (regular) intervals.

The major contributing factors to RLS / PLMD

  • hereditary, the disorder being passed down through genes
  • iron deficiency anemia,
  • poor blood circulation in the legs
  • nerve problems
  • muscle disorders
  • kidney disorders
  • alcoholism
  • vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

RLS symptoms are very unique and may require a sleep specialist.

A detailed medical history and physical examination are used to rule out other conditions that may be cause a misdiagnosis. For RLS some remedies can be effective. These include: hot baths, leg massages, hot or cold packs, exercise, and the elimination of caffeine. When these measures prove to be ineffective, RLS can be treated with prescription medication.

PLMD will require more extensive testing.

One is not usually aware of their nighttime movements. This generally requires a overnight polysomnogram, or sleep study.


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