Prevalence of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder in the general population (2022)

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Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Volume 53, Issue 1,

July 2002

, Pages 547-554

Author links open overlay panelMaurice MOhayonaThomasRothb

https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3999(02)00443-9Get rights and content

(Video) Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement

Abstract

Background: Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) and restless legs syndrome (RLS) are two sleep disorders characterized by abnormal leg movements and are responsible for deterioration in sleep quality. However, the prevalence of these disorders is not well known in the general population. This study aims to document the prevalence of RLS and PLMD in the general population and to identify factors associated with these conditions. Methods: Cross-sectional studies were performed in the UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Overall, 18,980 subjects aged 15 to 100 years old representative of the general population of these five European countries underwent telephone interviews with the Sleep-EVAL system. A section of the questionnaire assessed leg symptoms during sleep. The diagnoses of PLMD and RLS were based on the minimal criteria provided by the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. Results: The prevalence of PLMD was 3.9% and RLS was 5.5%. RLS and PLMD were higher in women than in men. The prevalence of RLS significantly increased with age. In multivariate models, being a woman, the presence of musculoskeletal disease, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, cataplexy, doing physical activities close to bedtime and the presence of a mental disorder were significantly associated with both disorders. Factors specific to PLMD were: being a shift or night worker, snoring, daily coffee intake, use of hypnotics and stress. Factors solely associated with RLS were: advanced age, obesity, hypertension, loud snoring, drinking at least three alcoholic beverages per day, smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day and use of SSRI. Conclusions: PLMD and RLS are prevalent in the general population. Both conditions are associated with several physical and mental disorders and may negatively impact sleep. Greater recognition of these sleep disorders is needed.

Introduction

Many types of abnormal movements may occur during sleep, many of which often involve the legs. Two dyssomnias can be responsible for leg symptoms at night (e.g., pain, cramps, jerks, creeping, itching, etc.). Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), originally called nocturnal myoclonus by Symonds [1], is characterized by periodic episodes of repetitive limb movements caused by contractions of the muscles during sleep. Restless legs syndrome (RLS), initially reported by Ekbom [2], is characterized by disagreeable leg sensations occurring most often at sleep onset that provoke an urge to move the legs. These disorders were seldom investigated in the general population. The prevalence for PLMD is unknown. Existing figures for RLS were estimated using a limited set of questions that could have inflated the prevalence of the disorder, which was found to be around 10% [3], [4].

These two sleep disorders were investigated in an epidemiological study undertaken in five European countries (the UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain). These disorders were analyzed in association with physical and mental health status and the use of psychoactive substances (alcohol, coffee, tobacco, CNS medications) that could explain the disorders.

Section snippets

Sampling

The participants in the five countries were interviewed by telephone between 1994 and 1999 about their sleep habits and problems under the supervision of the P.I. (MMO) [5]. The UK was the first to be studied, in 1994. Germany came next, in 1996, Italy in 1997, Portugal in 1998 and Spain in 1999. Ethical and research committees at the Imperial College (London, UK), the Regensburg University (Germany), the San Rafaele Hospital (Milan, Italy), the Sta Maria Hospital (Lisbon, Portugal) and the

Results

The final sample was composed of 18,980 subjects: 9739 were women (51.3%) and 9241 were men (48.7%). The ages ranged from 15 to 100 years. This distribution was comparable in each country.

Discussion

This study is the first to explore both RLS and PLMD in the general population. RLS was the most frequent diagnosis (5.5%), followed by PLMD (3.9% of the sample of 18,980 subjects); 18.5% of RLS subjects also had PLMD. RLS increased with age but not PLMD. Leg symptoms were very frequent in our sample: about 20% of the subjects had one or more leg movement during sleep (agitated legs, leg cramps, etc.), but their associations with other sleep/wake symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis were

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Fond de la Recherche en Santé du Quebec (FRSQ, Grant No. 971067). To M.M.D. and an unrestricted educational grant from Sanofi–Synthelabo group to M.M.D. The collaboration of Professor Robert G. Priest (University of London, England), Professor Jürgen Zulley (University of Regensburg, Germany), Professor Salvatore Smirne (State University and Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele, Italy), Professor Teresa Paiva (Hospital de Sta. Maria, Portugal) and Dr. Teresa

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  • Cited by (597)

    • Overlapping features of restless legs syndrome and growing pains in Turkish children and adolescents

      2022, Brain and Development

      Restless legs syndrome (RLS) and growing pains (GPs) share many common features and are sometimes overlapping diagnoses. The present study aims to investigate the shared features of patients with RLS, classified based on the 2013 diagnostic criteria of International Restless Legs Syndrome Study group and of patients with GPs, diagnosed based on the combined criteria proposed in 2013.

      A cross-sectional population study was conducted in 7 Istanbul schools, which were selected randomly. A total of 4565 (56.1% female) children aged 9 to 18years were included. In the first stage, candidates of RLS and GPs were identified based on 2 separate questionnaires, whose diagnoses were confirmed by a second survey applied to them under parental supervision.

      Out of 192 children (65.6% female) diagnosed as definite RLS (yearly prevalence: 4.2%), 30 (15.6%) reported bilateral leg muscle pain localized typical regions for GPs, which started <13years of age in 17 children. An urge to move the legs to relieve unpleasant sensations or pain was present in 39.3% of 140 children (64.3% female) classified as GPs (yearly prevalence: 3.1%). Occurrence of symptoms at rest or when lying down was present in 36.4% of GPs children and relief by gross movements was in 21.4% children. Only 12 patients (9 with definite RLS and 3 with GPs) (0.03% of total cohort) were eligible for overlapping diagnosis of GPs and RLS.

      Although a considerable number of patients with RLS and GPs share some clinical features, a combined phenotype is very rare.

    • Restless legs syndrome and hypertension in men and women: a propensity score-matched analysis

      2022, Sleep Medicine

      To evaluate the association between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and hypertension in men and women based on a community-based cohort of middle-aged and elderly participants.

      This cross-sectional observational study enrolled 4080 participants from the Sleep Heart Health study (SHHS). RLS was defined by positive responses on a self-administered questionnaire assessing the four diagnostic criteria, with symptoms occurring at least five times per month and associated with at least moderate distress. Hypertension was defined as SBP ≥140mmHg, DBP ≥90mmHg, or current use of antihypertensive medication. Propensity score-matched (PSM) inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW) analyses and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine the relationship between RLS and hypertension.

      RLS was present in 6.8% of women (n=152) and 3.2% of men (n=59). In the primary cohort analysis, the odds ratio (OR) for hypertension was 1.60 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19–2.16, p<0.001] for participants with RLS compared to those without RLS. In the PSM analyses, the OR for hypertension was 1.66 (95% CI 1.09–2.54, p=0.019) for participants with RLS compared to those without RLS. In sex subgroup analyses, the association between RLS and hypertension persisted in women. In the PSM cohort, the ORs for hypertension were 1.67 (95% CI 1.01–2.81, p=0.048) and 1.85 (95% CI 0.75–4.75, p=0.191) in women and men, respectively. Similar results were found in IPTW cohort.

      This study revealed a positive association between RLS and hypertension in a community-based population; in sex subgroup analyses, the association persisted in women.

    • Usefulness of Restless Legs Symptoms to Predict Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes in Men With Coronary Artery Disease

      2022, American Journal of Cardiology

      The relationship between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and cardiovascular disease remains enigmatic in the general population, and its prognostic value in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) is unknown. In this study, the frequency of RLS-like symptoms was assessed using a validated instrument in 3,266 patients undergoing cardiac catheterization (mean age 64 years, 62% male, 23% Black, and 74% with obstructive CAD). Patients were followed for primary end points of cardiovascular death or incident myocardial infarction. Fine and Gray hazard models explored the association between RLS and incident events after adjustment for demographic and clinical risk factors. In the total cohort, 29% of patients reported mild (rare or sometimes) symptoms, and 15% of patients had moderate/severe (often to almost always) symptoms of RLS. Female sex (odds ratio [OR] 2.11, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.68 to 2.57), body mass index (OR 1.12 per 5 kg/m2, 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.22), diabetes (OR 1.43, 95%,1.15 to 1.79), and β-blocker use (OR 1.35, 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.72) were independently associated with moderate/severe symptoms of RLS compared with no symptoms. Over a 5-year follow-up period, 991 patients suffered an adverse event. Compared with those with no symptoms, patients with moderate/severe RLS had significantly higher risk of the primary end point (hazard ratio [HR]=1.33, 95%),CI 1.01 to 1.76) after adjustment for demographic and clinical risk factors. The association was more significant in men than women, HR 1.98, 95% CI, 1.41 to 2.78 versus HR 0.99 (,95% CI, 0.64 to 1.52, p interaction= 0.013. In conclusion, among men with CAD, moderate-to-severe symptoms of RLS are associated with significantly higher risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, independent of traditional risk factors.

      (Video) Women with ALD: Restless Legs Syndrome and Movement Disorders
    • Tobacco-induced sleep disturbances: A systematic review and meta-analysis

      2021, Sleep Medicine Reviews

      Even though tobacco-induced sleep disturbances (TISDs) have been reported in previous studies, the present article is the first meta-analysis quantitatively assessing the impact of tobacco on sleep parameters. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the studies comparing objective (i.e. polysomnography and actigraphy) and/or subjective sleep parameters in chronic tobacco smokers without comorbidities versus healthy controls. Studies were retrieved using PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. Differences are expressed as standardized mean deviations (SMD) and their 95% confidence intervals (95%CI). Fourteen studies were finally included into the review, among which ten were suitable for meta-analysis. Compared to healthy controls, chronic tobacco users displayed increased N1 percentage (SMD=0.65, 95%CI: 0.22 to 1.07), N2 percentage (SMD=1.45, 95%CI: 0.26 to 2.63), wake time after sleep onset (SMD=6.37, 95%CI: 2.48 to 10.26), and decreased slow-wave sleep (SMD=−2.00, 95%CI:−3.30 to−0.70). Objective TISDs preferentially occurred during the first part of the night. Regarding subjective parameters, only the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) total score could be analyzed, with no significant between-groups difference (SMD=0.53, 95%CI:−0.18 to 1.23). Smoking status should be carefully assessed in sleep medicine, while TISDs should be regularly explored in chronic tobacco users.

    • Restless legs syndrome in people with multiple sclerosis: An updated systematic review and meta-analyses

      2021, Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders

      Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensory-motor disorder characterized by an uncomfortable sensation felt in the lower extremity. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analyses was (i) to provide updated information on the prevalence and clinical characteristics of RLS amongst people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and (ii) clarify RLS-related factors in PwMS.

      MEDLINE (PubMed), Scopus, and EMBASE were searched from their inception through April 2021 for the following keywords: ‘restless legs syndrome’ or ‘RLS’ and ‘multiple sclerosis' or ‘MS’. For the analysis of RLS prevalence, we calculated the percentage of RLS sufferers amongst the PwMS and people without MS. The prevalence of RLS was pooled separately for PwMS and healthy controls, regardless of the heterogeneity between studies. The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were extracted from the data in order to analyze the association between MS and RLS.

      Nineteen studies were included in the review (9 case-controlled and 10 cross-sectional).The mean prevalence of RLS in the MS population was 27.5%, ranging from 13.2% to 65.1%, higher than the healthy controls. Based on the case control studies, the pooled RLS prevalence was much higher in PwMS than in healthy controls (OR 4.535, 95% CI 3.043–6.759, p<0.001). The majority of studies found no significant relationship between the presence of RLS in PwMS with disability, disease duration, type of MS, age, or gender.

      Our updated systematic review strengthens the evidence of the increased risk of RLS amongst PwMS. Nevertheless, significant data reporting on characteristics of the MS disease, which increases the risk of suffering from RLS, is still lacking.

    • Obesity and sleep disturbances: The “chicken or the egg” question

      2021, European Journal of Internal Medicine

      Obesity and sleep disturbances are common conditions in modern societies and accumulating evidence support a close bidirectional causal relationship between these two conditions.

      Indeed, from one side sleep loss seems to affect energy intake and expenditure through its direct effects on hormone-mediated sensations of satiety and hunger and through the influence on hedonic and psychological aspects of food consumption. Sleep deprived patients have been shown to experiment excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and tiredness that, in a vicious circle, enhances physical inactivity and weight gain. On the other side, obesity is a well-known risk factor for several sleep disorders. This narrative review will discuss the main pathophysiological mechanisms that link sleep loss to obesity and metabolic syndrome with particular attention to the three most common sleep disorders (insomnia, obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, restless leg syndrome).

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      Convergence of psychiatric symptoms and restless legs syndrome: A cross-sectional study in an elderly French population

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      The objective was to evaluate the association between restless legs syndrome (RLS) with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), major depression disorder (MDD), dysthymia, and GAD-depression comorbidity. Secondary aims were to examine the association between RLS with the cognitive-affective and somatic-vegetative disturbances experienced as part of depression and GAD.

      This was a cross-sectional study of 1493 elderly participants (median age 80.6years, 64% women) from Dijon, France. Probable RLS was assessed using the minimal diagnostic criteria of the International Restless Legs Study Group and RLS symptom frequency and treatment. Participants underwent structured interviews for MDD, dysthymia, and GAD. Participants also completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). The association between RLS and psychiatric disorders, their criterion symptoms, or symptom factors was examined using logistic regression.

      The point prevalence of probable RLS in this sample was 8.2%. Probable RLS was associated with isolated GAD (odds ratio [OR] 2.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–4.68) and comorbid GAD-any depression disorder (OR 3.26, 95% CI 1.14–9.29), but not MDD or dysthymia. Probable RLS was also associated with the GAD criterion worry most days and feeling tense, and the CES-D factors representing depressed affect, somatic symptoms, and positive affect.

      (Video) Restless Leg Syndrome: Triggers, Home Remedies and Treatment | Andy Berkowski, MD

      Probable RLS was associated with GAD-depression comorbidity as well as isolated GAD. The findings challenge previous reports linking RLS solely with MDD, suggesting the association is partly driven by GAD-depression comorbidity.

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      Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is primarily treated with levodopa and dopaminergics that target the inhibitory dopamine receptor subtypes D3 and D2. The initial success of this therapy led to the idea of a hypodopaminergic state as the mechanism underlying RLS. However, multiple lines of evidence suggest that this simplified concept of a reduced dopamine function as the basis of RLS is incomplete. Moreover, long-term medication with the D2/D3 agonists leads to a reversal of the initial benefits of dopamine agonists and augmentation, which is a worsening of symptoms under therapy. The recent findings on the state of the dopamine system in RLS that support the notion that a dysfunction in the dopamine system may in fact induce a hyperdopaminergic state are summarized. On the basis of these data, the concept of a dynamic nature of the dopamine effects in a circadian context is presented. The possible interactions of cell adhesion molecules expressed by the dopaminergic systems and their possible effects on RLS and augmentation are discussed. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) indicate a significantly increased risk for RLS in populations with genomic variants of the cell adhesion molecule receptor type protein tyrosine phosphatase D (PTPRD), and PTPRD is abundantly expressed by dopamine neurons. PTPRD may play a role in the reconfiguration of neural circuits, including shaping the interplay of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) homomers and heteromers that mediate dopaminergic modulation. Recent animal model data support the concept that interactions between functionally distinct dopamine receptor subtypes can reshape behavioral outcomes and change with normal aging. Additionally, long-term activation of one dopamine receptor subtype can increase the receptor expression of a different receptor subtype with opposite modulatory actions. Such dopamine receptor interactions at both spinal and supraspinal levels appear to play important roles in RLS. In addition, these interactions can extend to the adenosine A1 and A2A receptors, which are also prominently expressed in the striatum. Interactions between adenosine and dopamine receptors and dopaminergic cell adhesion molecules, including PTPRD, may provide new pharmacological targets for treating RLS. In summary, new treatment options for RLS that include recovery from augmentation will have to consider dynamic changes in the dopamine system that occur during the circadian cycle, plastic changes that can develop as a function of treatment or with aging, changes in the connectome based on alterations in cell adhesion molecules, and receptor interactions that may extend beyond the dopamine system itself.

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    FAQs

    What percent of the population has restless leg syndrome? ›

    Restless legs syndrome is one of the most common sleep and movement disorders. It affects an estimated 5 to 10 percent of adults and 2 to 4 percent of children in the United States. For unknown reasons, the disorder affects women more often than men. The prevalence of restless legs syndrome increases with age.

    How common is periodic limb movement disorder? ›

    What Is PLMD? Periodic limb movement disorder, referred to as PLMD, is a sleep disorder that affects approximately 4% to 11% of2 the population. People with PLMD experience repetitive jerking, cramping, or twitching of their lower limbs during sleep.

    What is the difference between PLMS and RLS? ›

    The primary difference is that RLS occurs while awake and PLMD occurs while sleeping.

    Is Restless Leg Syndrome a movement disorder? ›

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological movement disorder characterized by a compelling urge to move the legs usually accompanied by an uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations.

    How many people in the world have restless leg syndrome? ›

    Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a neurological condition associated with abnormal sensations in the legs. It is estimated that 5% of the general population and as many as 10% of those over the age of 65 have this disorder.

    What is the main cause of restless leg syndrome? ›

    If nerve cells become damaged, the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced, which causes muscle spasms and involuntary movements. Dopamine levels naturally fall towards the end of the day, which may explain why the symptoms of restless legs syndrome are often worse in the evening and during the night.

    What does a bar of soap under your pillow do? ›

    Before you tuck yourself into bed, slip a bar of soap under the covers. The unproven folk remedy might cure your nighttime woes, according to its loyal adherents at least. Snoozing with suds supposedly prevents nocturnal leg cramps, those painful muscle contractions waking you in the middle of the night.

    What causes periodic limb movement? ›

    The exact cause of PLMD is unknown. However, several medications are known to make PLMD worse. These medications include some antidepressants, antihistamines, and some antipsychotics. PLMD may be related to a low iron level or problems with limb nerve conduction due to diabetes or kidney disease.

    Can you have restless leg syndrome during the day? ›

    Symptoms usually occur at night when people are most relaxed, with their legs at rest, lying down. In more severe cases, symptoms also occur during the day while sitting. Movement relieves the symptoms.

    What meds work for restless leg syndrome? ›

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved four drugs for treating RLS:
    • ropinirole (Requip)
    • pramipexole (Mirapex)
    • gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant)
    • rotigotine (Neupro)

    What is the best medication for restless legs? ›

    Dopamine agonists may be recommended if you're experiencing frequent symptoms of restless legs syndrome. They work by increasing dopamine levels, which are often low. Dopamine agonists that may be recommended include: ropinirole.

    What is first line treatment for restless leg syndrome? ›

    Dopamine agonists — The non-ergot dopamine agonists, pramipexole, ropinirole, and rotigotine, are effective in the treatment of RLS at low doses and are all considered reasonable first-line therapies for chronic persistent RLS in patients with an increased risk for side effects from gabapentinoids [7].

    Does restless leg syndrome go away? ›

    Does Restless Legs Syndrome Ever Go Away by Itself? There are some cases of restless legs syndrome disappearing on its own. But this is rare. Instead, for most people symptoms get worse over time.

    Is Restless Leg Syndrome painful? ›

    Symptoms of restless legs syndrome include: Leg (or arm) discomfort: These uncomfortable limb sensations are often described by adults as creeping, itching, pulling, crawling, tugging, throbbing, burning, or gnawing.

    Is periodic limb movement disorder genetic? ›

    Although the authenticity of RLS has recently been questioned,40 our study provides evidence that periodic limb movements in sleep is a genuine syndrome with an ascertainable phenotype and a genetic basis.

    How do you describe restless leg syndrome? ›

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes a powerful urge to move your legs. Your legs become uncomfortable when you are lying down or sitting. Some people describe it as a creeping, crawling, tingling, or burning sensation. Moving makes your legs feel better, but not for long.

    Can vitamin B12 cause restless legs? ›

    Boost your B vitamin intake

    Another B vitamin, B12, has also been directly linked to RLS, according to Dr. Anderson. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg.

    How do you stop periodic limb movement disorder? ›

    Benzodiazepines: These drugs suppress muscle contractions. They are also sedatives and help you sleep through the movements. Clonazepam (Klonopin), in particular, has been shown to reduce the total number of periodic limb movements per hour. It is probably the most widely used drug to treat PLMD.

    What deficiency causes restless legs? ›

    Iron deficiency.

    Even without anemia, iron deficiency can cause or worsen RLS .

    What soap do you put in your bed for restless leg syndrome? ›

    Mehmet Oz recommended placing a bar of lavender soap beneath the bed sheets to alleviate RLS, hypothesizing that the smell of lavender is relaxing in itself and may be beneficial for the condition.

    What does sleeping with soap in your bed do? ›

    It's been said that tucking a bar of soap under your sheets could help relieve the pain of leg cramps or the discomfort of restless legs syndrome. There is no scientific evidence to support this home remedy.

    What is lavender soap good for? ›

    The lavender plant is naturally anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, and it can soothe sunburns and reduce scarring. These properties make lavender soap an effective way to reduce skin inflammation and treat skin conditions. Adding lavender to your daily hygiene routine can help you combat inflammation daily.

    Can PLMD happen while awake? ›

    You may experience involuntary jerking or twitching movements of the legs while sitting or lying awake, an uncontrollable urge and uncomfortable sensation in the legs (or possibly arms), and sometimes a creepy, crawly feeling that occurs more often in the evening.

    Why do my legs move while I'm sleeping? ›

    PLMS (Periodic Leg Movement during Sleep) a sleep disorder characterized by involuntary movements of the legs while asleep. People who suffer from PLMS can be unaware of their limb movements, as they do not always wake from them. These movements happen during the night, at regular intervals before one enters REM sleep.

    What stage of sleep does PLMD occur? ›

    PLMS are most frequent during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages 1 and 2. The movements become less frequent during stage 3 of NREM sleep and during REM sleep.

    How can I stop restless legs during the day? ›

    Lifestyle and home remedies
    1. Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging the legs can relax the muscles.
    2. Apply warm or cool packs. ...
    3. Establish good sleep hygiene. ...
    4. Exercise. ...
    5. Avoid caffeine. ...
    6. Consider using a foot wrap or a vibrating pad.
    1 Mar 2022

    Is there a test for restless leg syndrome? ›

    There's no single test for diagnosing restless legs syndrome. A diagnosis will be based on your symptoms, medical history and family history, a physical examination, and test results. Your GP should be able to diagnose restless legs syndrome, but they may refer you to a neurologist if there's any uncertainty.

    Can restless leg syndrome affect your arms? ›

    Arm involvement is reported in 21–57% of cases when RLS symptoms are more severe, spreading to other body parts, but the legs must be affected. Restless arms are mostly reported in case of augmentation syndrome which indicates earlier onset of symptoms and spreading of complaints within the limbs, including the arms.

    Who is at risk for restless leg syndrome? ›

    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.

    How should you sleep with restless legs? ›

    Depending on what position your prefer to sleep in, try using standard pillows between your legs (for side-lying) or a leg rest pillow under your legs (for lying on your back). These options promote blood flow and happy joints and muscles in the legs and throughout the body.

    Do muscle relaxers help restless leg syndrome? ›

    While muscle relaxants are primarily used for muscle spasms and back pain, they are also prescribed for RLS. Low doses of muscle relaxants are sometimes used in conjunction with opioid analgesics and sleep medications to help combat RLS.

    What is the best muscle relaxer for restless leg syndrome? ›

    Certain medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise), gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant) and pregabalin (Lyrica), work for some people with RLS . Muscle relaxants and sleep medications.

    Is Xanax good for restless leg syndrome? ›

    Benzodiazepines: These are sedative medications that help people with persistent and mild symptoms to sleep through the effects of RLS. Restoril, or temazepam, Xanax, or alprazolam, and Klonopin, or clonazepam, are examples.

    When is the best time to take magnesium for restless legs? ›

    Avoid caffeine and alcohol, both of which can make symptoms worse. Take a calcium/magnesium supplement at bedtime. Try 500 mg of calcium citrate and 250 to 500 mg of magnesium to calm nerves and muscles. Exercise, stretch or massage your legs (this can help when symptoms are mild).

    How much iron should you take for restless leg syndrome? ›

    Iron Supplementation

    A study has shown that in patients whose serum ferritin was < 75 µg/l, oral iron therapy (325 mg ferrous sulfate twice a day on an empty stomach) on average improved RLS symptom after 3 months.

    How much magnesium should I take for restless leg syndrome? ›

    For adolescent and adult men and women, daily doses of 270-350 mg are considered safe. Talk to a medical professional about the proper dosage for you. Magnesium sulfate can be administered via IV, though the oral supplement would likely be used instead for treating RLS.

    How long does restless leg syndrome last at night? ›

    These sensations can last for an hour or longer, slowly increasing in severity. While the sensations are most often bilateral, some patients experience them only on one side of the body. The most common time for RLS to occur is at night when the person lies down to sleep.

    Why does restless leg syndrome only happen at night? ›

    It transmits brain messages, helps control body movements and alters central nervous system function. “Dopamine levels are lower at night, which may explain why restless legs syndrome symptoms are worse in the evening,” says Jacci Bainbridge, Pharm.

    Does restless leg syndrome get worse with age? ›

    Affected Populations

    Restless legs syndrome appears to be about twice as common in women than men. Associated symptoms may become apparent at any age, and the disorder is usually chronic, often becoming more severe with increasing age.

    What happens if restless leg syndrome goes untreated? ›

    Left untreated, the condition causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue, as well as sleep deprivation, depression, travel difficulties, memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, and insomnia. Because of lack of sleep, children and some adults may be very drowsy, irritable, and aggressive during daytime hours.

    Does anxiety cause restless legs? ›

    Rachel Salas, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, says that stress and anxiety are big restless legs triggers. Stress reduction techniques like deep breathing or yoga may help.

    Is Restless Leg Syndrome Linked to ADHD? ›

    Research indicates RLS is more common in individuals with ADHD. However, while experts are not entirely sure of the link, they believe iron deficiency and dopamine play a role. RLS causes unpleasant sensations in the legs and an urge to move them.

    What is the difference between periodic limb movement disorder and restless leg syndrome? ›

    Periodic limb movement disorder involves repetitive movements of the arms, legs, or both during sleep. Restless legs syndrome involves an irresistible urge to move and usually abnormal sensations in the legs, arms, or both when people sit still or lie down.

    Is Restless Leg Syndrome serious? ›

    Restless legs syndrome is not life threatening, but severe cases can disrupt sleep (causing insomnia) and trigger anxiety and depression. The charity Restless Leg Syndrome UK (RLS-UK) provides information and support for people affected by restless legs syndrome.

    Is periodic limb movement disorder a disability? ›

    Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is one of the commonest neurological disorders and causes significant disability, if left untreated.

    How many periodic limb movements is normal? ›

    The universally accepted criteria for diagnosis of PLMs are as follows: There should be at least four leg movements in a 90-s period. Contractions should be more than 0.5-s and less than 5-s.

    Does PLMD lead to Parkinson's? ›

    This clinical study found that PLMS severity was not associated with PD even though there was similar pathophysiology for these 2 diseases. However, this finding did not against the high prevalence of PLMS in the PD population, as previous studies showed.

    Is periodic limb movement disorder genetic? ›

    Although the authenticity of RLS has recently been questioned,40 our study provides evidence that periodic limb movements in sleep is a genuine syndrome with an ascertainable phenotype and a genetic basis.

    How do you stop PLMD? ›

    Benzodiazepines: These drugs suppress muscle contractions. They are also sedatives and help you sleep through the movements. Clonazepam (Klonopin), in particular, has been shown to reduce the total number of periodic limb movements per hour. It is probably the most widely used drug to treat PLMD.

    Can PLMD happen while awake? ›

    You may experience involuntary jerking or twitching movements of the legs while sitting or lying awake, an uncontrollable urge and uncomfortable sensation in the legs (or possibly arms), and sometimes a creepy, crawly feeling that occurs more often in the evening.

    Can PTSD cause restless leg syndrome? ›

    A growing body of research suggests that periodic leg movements are more common in patients with PTSD than in controls. In a study of 25 Vietnam veterans with severe PTSD, 76% of patients had clinically significant periodic leg movement disorder, with a mean index (movements/h) of 38 (normal being < 15/h).

    Why do I move my legs in my sleep? ›

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you're sitting or lying down. Moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily.

    Can antidepressants cause PLMD? ›

    Evidence from case reports and cross-sectional studies suggests that antidepressants may induce or worsen restless legs syndrome and increase periodic limb movements.

    How do you treat PLMD naturally? ›

    Lifestyle changes: If your symptoms are mild (not painful and at most once a week), cutting back on caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products; exercising; massaging your legs and/or taking hot baths before bed may help reduce symptoms. Talk to your doctor about whether these options might help you.

    What are the four cardinal signs of Parkinson's disease? ›

    One of the most prevalent neurological disorders is Parkinson's disease (PD), characterized by four cardinal signs: tremor, bradykinesia, rigor and postural instability.

    Who is at risk for restless leg syndrome? ›

    People of any age, including children, can have RLS. Symptoms of RLS may begin in childhood or adulthood, but the chance of having the syndrome increases significantly with age. RLS is more common in women than in men. Up to 10 percent of the United States population has RLS.

    Does restless leg syndrome go away? ›

    Does Restless Legs Syndrome Ever Go Away by Itself? There are some cases of restless legs syndrome disappearing on its own. But this is rare. Instead, for most people symptoms get worse over time.

    What type of disorder is restless leg syndrome? ›

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a nervous system disorder that causes an overpowering urge to move your legs. It's also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. Doctors consider it a sleep disorder because it usually happens or gets worse while you're at rest.

    What is the best prescription drug for restless leg syndrome? ›

    Rotigotine (Neupro) and pramipexole (Mirapex) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS . Short-term side effects of these medications are usually mild and include nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue.

    What vitamins help restless leg syndrome? ›

    A 2014 study found that vitamin D supplements reduced RLS symptoms in people with RLS and vitamin D deficiency ( 9 ). And for people on hemodialysis, vitamins C and E supplements may help relieve RLS symptoms (4, 10 ). Supplementation with iron or vitamins D, C, or E can help certain people with RLS.

    How much magnesium should I take for restless leg syndrome? ›

    For adolescent and adult men and women, daily doses of 270-350 mg are considered safe. Talk to a medical professional about the proper dosage for you. Magnesium sulfate can be administered via IV, though the oral supplement would likely be used instead for treating RLS.

    Videos

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    3. Preventing and Managing Augmentation in Restless Legs Syndrome
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    4. "Restless Leg Syndrome" - Dr. David Earl
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