Signs You Have Restless Leg Syndrome

Did you know that about 10% of Americans struggle with restless leg syndrome (RLS)? This uncomfortable condition causes intense and often uncontrollable urges to move your legs, often in the evening or when you’re in bed. 

At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois, Dennis Kellar, MD, and Madhu Gundavaram, MD, and our compassionate care team diagnose and treat restless leg syndrome and other sleep disorders as part of our comprehensive sleep medicine services. 

Restless leg syndrome, or Willis-Ekborn disease, is called a sleep disorder, because the symptoms often don’t appear until you’ve been inactive for a period of time, such as when going to bed, watching television, or taking a long flight. The frustrating sensations it causes can make it difficult or impossible to fall asleep or go back to sleep if they wake you up. 

Here’s a closer look at the signs of restless leg syndrome and how we can help.  

Signs of restless leg syndrome

A specific diagnostic test for RLS doesn’t yet exist. Instead, your provider makes a diagnosis based on the following five signs of the syndrome:

Restless leg syndrome can also cause issues with daytime sleepiness, mood disorders, and work or school performance. If you’re experiencing any of the above criteria or are having other sleep-related trouble, schedule an appointment with your provider at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. 

Causes of restless leg syndrome

The causes of RLS aren’t understood well yet. Medical researchers believe the condition may be related to a dysfunction in the part of the brain that controls movement and may involve a disruption in dopamine, a chemical needed for muscle activity and movement. 

In addition, researchers have identified several factors that can increase your odds of developing the syndrome, including:

In some cases, a genetic component can trigger the syndrome in families, with symptoms typically beginning before age 40. Women in the final trimester of pregnancy may also develop RLS, but it typically resolves after giving birth. 

Treatment for restless leg syndrome

At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, our providers understand that the best treatment for RLS depends on your unique symptoms and the way the condition affects your life. Our sleep medicine doctors offer customized RLS treatments that may combine medication and lifestyle adjustments. 

Some of the customized treatment recommendations your Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine provider may suggest include:

If you have RLS and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have this condition, book an appointment online or over the phone with Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine today.

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