Restless Leg Syndrome - Describe Your Experience

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Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) Overview

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder of the part of the nervous system that affects movements of the legs. Because it usually interferes with sleep, it also is considered a sleep disorder.

  • People with RLS have strange sensations in their legs (and sometimes arms) and an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve the sensations.
  • The sensations are difficult to describe: they are not painful, but an uncomfortable, "itchy," "pins and needles," or "creepy crawly" feeling deep in the legs.
  • The sensations are usually worse at rest, especially when lying in bed.
  • The sensations lead to walking discomfort, sleep deprivation, and stress.

RLS affects about 8%-10% of the US population. Men and women are affected equally. It may begin at any age, even in infants and young children. Most people who are affected severely are middle-aged or older.

The severity of RLS symptoms ranges from mild to intolerable. Symptoms get gradually worse over time in about two thirds of people with the condition and may be severe enough to be disabling. The symptoms are generally worse in the evening and night and less severe in the morning. While the symptoms are usually quite mild in young adults, by age 50 the symptoms cause severe nightly sleep disruption that leads to decreased alertness in the daytime.

RLS is often unrecognized or misdiagnosed. In many people the condition is not diagnosed until 10-20 years after symptoms begin. Once correctly diagnosed, RLS can often be treated successfully.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: dave, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 06

I have had it for at least 15 years and it has worsened. It kicks in as early as 10 am, but most times 4PM on. Mirapex 1gm takes edge off, but takes too long to take effect. I am willing to be part of a study if located in Great Falls, MT. I am tired of the same routine of pain and restlessness every single night, I need a permanent solution.

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Comment from: Karaline, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: December 02

I have restless leg syndrome; I experience RL just about every night. Even sometimes in the day if I should perhaps choose to take a nap. It starts in the buttock area and works its way down. If I take a 0.5 mg ropinirole at 7:00, another at about 9:00 then hopefully the last one at 10:30 or 11:00, sometimes the first pill will work, but mostly I need the second one to finally feel relief about an hour later. I take the last one just because I know if I don't, I will wake up within 1/2 to one hour with RL. After this, I can sleep without RL. But I cannot stay in bed for any length of time in the morning because it will start again. I won't take any more pills in the daytime.

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