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Other Names :  

Willis-Ekbom disease, WED, Wittmaack-Ekbom syndrome

What is Restless Legs Syndrome ?  

Restless legs syndrome is a neurological disorder that is characterized by an irresistible urge to move one’s body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations, like aching muscles, tickling sensation, itching or crawling feeling. Moving the affected body part provides temporary relief. The sensations typically occur mostly during relaxing, reading, studying or trying to sleep.

Cause(s) :  
  • Genetic - inheritance in an autosomal dominant gene
  • Iron deficiency found to be associated
  • Side-effects of medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines
  • Dysfunction related to neurotransmitter dopamine
Symptoms :  About 40% of members have their first symptoms before the age of 20 years
  • Urge to move the legs due to some uncomfortable sensations like pain, electrical current, “pins and needles”, itching, feeling of crawling or “falling asleep”. Some people report the urge to move their arms and other parts of the body also.
  • Motor restlessness
  • Worsening of symptoms when relaxed and during quiet wakefulness
The restlessness is an urge similar to yawning. The individuals have higher rates of depression and anxiety

Diagnosis and Tests :  No specific diagnostic tests
  • Clinical examination
  • History of restlessness, not associated with anxiety
US National Institutes of Health criteria for diagnosis (2003) -
  • An urge to move the limbs with or without sensations.
  • Relief of the uncomfortable sensation with increase in activity.
  • Worsening of symptoms during quiet time or rest-time.
  • Worsening of symptoms in the evening or night.
Category :  Neurological Conditions

Specialist to consult :  Neurology

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