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Restless Legs syndrome

Abstract

You are reading a NORD Rare Disease Report Abstract. NORD’s full collection of reports on over 1200 rare diseases is available to subscribers (click here for details). We are now also offering two full rare disease reports per day to visitors on our Web site.

NORD is very grateful to Michael H. Silber, M.B., Ch.B, Center for Sleep Medicine and Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Restless Legs syndrome

  • Willis-Ekbom disease

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic and sleep related movement disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move in the legs that typically occurs or worsens at rest. It is usually accompanied by abnormal, uncomfortable sensations, known as paresthesias or dysesthesias, that are often likened to crawling, cramping, aching, burning, itching, or prickling deep within the affected areas. Although the legs are usually involved, an urge to move with paresthesias or dysesthesias may also sometimes affect the arms or other areas of the body. Those with RLS may vigorously move the affected area, engage in pacing, or perform other, often repetitive movements, such as stretching, bending, or rocking. Symptoms typically worsen in the evening or at night, often resulting in sleep disturbances. Some individuals with RLS may also develop symptoms during other extended periods of inactivity, such as while sitting in a movie theater or traveling in a car.

RLS may occur as a primary condition or due to another underlying disorder, certain medications, or other factors (secondary or symptomatic RLS). In primary RLS, the disorder is often genetic in origin or occurs for unknown reasons (idiopathic). Secondary RLS may occur in association with certain conditions, such as iron deficiency, low levels of the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells (anemia), kidney failure, or pregnancy.

Organizations related to Restless Legs syndrome

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