Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a common disorder which affects approximately 10% of the population. Considered a neurological sensorimotor disorder, RLS is characterized by uncomfortable, tingling sensations in the legs that are relieved by movement. Because these sensations tend to intensify with inactivity, RLS frequently interferes with sleep.
RLS is hereditary, and may affect anyone, at any age – including children. In some cases, RLS may be associated with an underlying condition such as kidney failure, anemia, pregnancy, or peripheral neuropathy. Even stress or a poor diet may instigate an episode of RLS in certain individuals.
Despite its presence, RLS often goes unrecognized and misdiagnosed. Physicians and those that suffer from RLS may mistake it for restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, or another neurological disorder. This is unfortunate, as when RLS goes untreated, sufferers will experience the consequences of sleep deprivation including daytime sleepiness, mood disturbances, and lack of energy.
If you suspect you may have RLS, be sure to discuss symptoms with your physician. While some sufferers may only find relief from prescribed medications, others cope with RLS by practicing yoga, pilates or stretching close to bedtime. Taking advantage of these effective treatments and coping strategies will help to ensure that RLS does not disrupt your sleep or reduce your quality of life.