Restless Leg Syndrome and
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes the overwhelming urge to move the legs that is often accompanied by burning, itching, tugging or creeping sensations in the legs. In general, RLS, which can occur at any time, starts or becomes worse when the person is at rest or lying down. RLS can cause difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and the lack of high quality, restorative sleep can exacerbate the RLS symptoms and have a serious impact on health and quality of life.
As much as 10% of the U.S. population may have RLS. Some studies show that moderate to severe RLS affects approximately 2-3% of adults or more than five million people. Childhood RLS is estimated to affect almost one million school-age children, with one-third having moderate to severe symptoms. RLS occurs in both men and women, although the incidence is about twice as high in women. It may begin at any age. Many individuals who are severely affected are middle-aged or older, and the symptoms typically become more frequent and last longer with age.
More than 80% of people suffering from RLS also experience a condition called Periodic Limb Movement in Sleep or may be diagnosed with Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, which is the involuntary, repetitive movement of limbs during sleep that cause sleep disruption. RLS and PLMD do not always occur in the same individual. Many people have PLMD and do not have RLS.
The twitching or jerking movements of PLMD typically occur every 15 to 40 seconds, sometimes throughout the night. The symptoms cause repeated awakenings and severely disrupted sleep. The lack of sleep or of restorative sleep can result in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability and mood disorders.
RLS and PLMD are often treatable with a combination of modified lifestyle and medications. It is important for anyone who suspects he or she may have RLS or PLMD to consult medical professionals and get a proper diagnosis and plan of treatment.
CSI sleep professionals can develop a treatment program for patients suffering from RLS or PLMD that will increase restorative sleep and improve wellbeing. As needed, CSI will work closely with the patient’s primary care physician, neurologist or other specialist physician to develop an optimum overall program.