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Restless Leg syndrome is a medical condition in which there is an urge to move the legs that does not go away easily and which is unpleasant and annoying.

No one knows the cause of restless legs syndrome but it tends to occur in men or women of middle to older ages. If you are under stress, you are more likely to have problems with restless legs syndrome. The exact cause isn't known but there are many risk factors, including having peripheral neuropathy, having Parkinson's disease, having chronic kidney disease, being pregnant, taking certain medications, and being iron deficient. Some forms of restless legs syndrome are hereditary and can be passed down to other family members. This is especially the case when restless legs syndrome occurs at a young age.

If you have restless legs syndrome or RLS, you are at a higher risk of developing sleep deprivation. The lack of sleep can contribute to being sleepy during the daytime, being anxious or depressed or having confusion or slowed processes of thought.

The symptoms of restless legs syndrome can be very uncomfortable but aren't dangerous. It involves the constant urge to move your legs and only goes away when you actually do move your legs. They tend to be worse at night when you lie down to sleep at night or can occur during the day if you are sitting down for a long period of time. It is described as an aching, crawling or creeping discomfort, a searing discomfort, a tingling, bubbling or crawling sensation. It can last for up to an hour or more and can occur in the lower legs alone or in both the upper and lower legs. Walking seems to help the condition and it is related to a condition known as rhythmic or periodic leg movements in sleep. This is called PLMD for periodic limb movement disorder. Sleep is disturbed and you can have trouble during long car rides or when flying in a plane.

There aren't any particular tests for restless legs syndrome. It can be observed by the doctor in some cases and it can be simply a matter of explaining to the doctor the signs and symptoms you have. Blood tests of the serum ferritin level can show if there are low iron levels, which can be related to some cases of restless legs syndrome. Other diseases can be ruled out with neurological testing.

The treatment of restless legs syndrome involves managing the symptoms and reducing stress. There is no true cure for the disease but it can be managed nicely. Warm baths before bedtime seem to help as can gentle stretching exercises of the legs or yoga. Massaging the legs seems to help somewhat. There is a specialized medication for restless legs syndrome known as Requip that can control symptoms in some people with the disease. Iron supplements are used in cases of low iron levels. Medications most often used for Parkinson's disease such as Sinemet can help as well as gabapentin and pregabalin. Benzodiazepines such as Klonopin or clonazepam can be used to relax the muscles and prevent the restless feeling so often associated with RLS. In rare cases, low dose narcotics can help the pain and restless feeling.

The prognosis of restless legs syndrome is good and it doesn't lead to any life threatening problems. It does not represent a serious medical problem and is only very uncomfortable. It can last for a short period of time or it can last for many months or years. Complications of restless legs syndrome include insomnia and sleep deprivation.

You can prevent the disease by learning about stress reduction, eating iron-containing foods, and promoting relaxation before you get the disease.

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Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Restless Legs Syndrome solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a Restless Legs Syndrome solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here