Restless Leg Syndrome Subpage
Regardless of severity, restless leg syndrome comes with health consequences.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom disease (WED), is a neurological disorder that impacts seven to eight percent of the U.S. population—across all ages. People who suffer from RLS are overcome by an urge to move the legs (and sometimes other body parts), oftentimes due to a “creeping, tugging, or pulling” sensation.
Symptoms of RLS usually occur at night and disrupt sleep, which is why many sleep physicians are well-versed in RLS and its implications on sleep health. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine shares that those with severe RLS generally get less than five hours of sleep per night. Individuals with milder RLS may get an adequate amount of sleep, but the quality of that sleep tends to be poor.
Regardless of where one lands on the spectrum of RLS severity, it’s a disorder that comes with short, and potentially long-term, consequences. Diagnosing the condition early on will save time and energy, and will help preserve long-term health.
Signs You Have Restless Leg Syndrome
According to the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation, there are five key symptoms that everyone with RLS demonstrates:
- You are overcome with the urge to move your legs. More often than not, this is accompanied by the “creepy, tugging, or pulling” sensation described above.
- Symptoms begin or worsen when you’re resting or inactive.
- You find relief when you move, such as walking or stretching—but symptoms continue when you stop that movement.
- Symptoms are worse in the evening/night than during the day—for some, symptoms only occur at night.
- There isn’t another condition causing the symptoms (cramps, swelling, arthritis) and you have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
It’s important to note that there is still a lot of research being done on RLS and its causes. As of today, the two biggest risk factors for developing RLS are gender & genetics.
If RLS runs in your family, you are three to six times more likely to inherit the disorder. As for gender, women are more likely to develop RLS than men—twice as likely, in fact. For women, there is also a higher risk of developing RLS during pregnancy.
Restless leg syndrome is mentally and physically exhausting. If you suspect that you’re suffering from RLS, or haven’t been able to find proper relief, it may be time to consider speaking to a sleep specialist.
Ready to start your journey to better sleep health and overall wellness? Schedule your consultation today.
Want to learn more about Restless Leg Syndrome? Read our blog, Sleep Disorders 101: Restless Leg Syndrome, here.