Restless leg syndrome

Alternative Names

Nocturnal myoclonus; RLS; Akathisia

Definition of Restless leg syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a disorder in which there is an urge or need to move the legs to stop unpleasant sensations.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) occurs most often in middle-aged and older adults. Stress makes it worse. The cause is not known in most patients.

Symptoms

RLS leads to sensations in the lower legs that make you uncomfortable unless you move your legs. These sensations:

Signs and tests

There is no specific examination for restless leg syndrome. The health care provider will not usually find any abnormalities, unless you also have peripheral nerve disease. Blood tests (CBC and serum ferritin) may be done to rule out iron deficiency anemia, which in rare cases can occur with restless leg syndrome.

Treatment

There is no known cure for restless leg syndrome.

Expectations (prognosis)

Restless leg syndrome is not dangerous or life-threatening, and it is not a sign of a serious disorder. However, it can be uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep.

Review

Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Departments of Anatomy Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/28/2009

Superficial anterior muscles

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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