Approximately 10% of Americans find trouble sleeping due to restless leg syndrome (RLS). Restless leg syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a disorder in which there is a strong urge to move your legs due to uncomfortable sensations while lying in bed.
Let’s discuss some facts that you may want to know about RLS.
#1 Restless Leg Syndrome Impacts Sleep Quality
Restless leg syndrome can prevent you from getting quality sleep at night. Its symptoms, such as pulling, creeping, tugging, throbbing, aching, burning, crawling, or itching sensations in the legs, hit hard primarily when you’re most desperate for rest– as you try to sleep.
Since RLS makes it almost impossible to sleep well at night, it can result in excessive daytime sleepiness and can put stress on your work and relationships.
#2 Restless Leg Syndrome Can Be Genetic
In some cases, RLS can be genetic – meaning that parents with restless leg syndrome may pass it down to their children. For instance, up to 92% of RLS patients have a first-degree relative (a family member who shares half of their genetic information) with RLS.
Patients with genetic RLS tend to develop the syndrome earlier in life (before the age of 45) compared to those who develop RLS without a genetic link.
#3 A Sleep Study Can Help Diagnose Restless Leg Syndrome
The international Restless Leg Syndrome Study Group has established criteria to diagnose RLS based on symptoms. These include:
- A strong, often irresistible urge to move the legs, along with uncomfortable sensations
- Uncomfortable leg symptoms that get worse while you’re sitting, lying down, or resting
- Symptoms get worse at night
- Physical activity such as walking or stretching relieves the symptoms
- Other medical or behavioral conditions don’t justify the symptoms
For a sleep study, you’ll be asked to stay overnight at a sleep clinic. During the study, the sleep doctor will assess various criteria while you’re asleep, which will help them determine the cause of your sleep issue.
#4 Restless Leg Syndrome Can Affect People of Any Age or Gender
You can develop RLS irrespective of your age – meaning RLS can also occur in children. However, the chance of developing RLS increases as you get older. Also, RLS can affect both men and women, but is more common in women, especially during pregnancy.
#5 A Sleep Doctor Can Treat Restless Leg Syndrome
There are a variety of ways RLS can be treated. Before developing a treatment plan, your sleep doctor will consider the intensity of your symptoms.
Typically, sleep doctors recommend no-drug treatments first, such as:
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding or limiting caffeine products
- Applying a heating pad or cold compress
- Reducing stress
- Developing good sleeping habits
Your sleep doctor may also prescribe an iron supplement and prescription medicines to help you get back to a healthy sleep pattern.
Restless LegSyndrome Treatment in Weatherford, TX
If you think you have restless leg syndrome, get yourself examined by the sleep specialists at the Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas. Our sleep specialists can perform a sleep study in a lab and provide comprehensive treatment for your RLS to help you get back to a healthy and restful sleep pattern again. Our sleep lab is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and is designed with all the comforts of home.