Restless Legs Syndrome Disorders
Although the legs are most prominently affected, “restless legs” is a misnomer in that 20-50% of afflicted individuals describe similar sensations in their arms. Nearly half of adult patients describe their sensations as painful. Most individuals afflicted with RLS will manifest varying degrees/severities of Periodic Leg/Limb Movements during sleep (PLMs), but not vice-versa (i.e., Only a relatively small percentage of individuals manifesting PLMs in their overnight recordings will voice complaints suggestive of RLS).
Prevalence is twice as high in women than in men. Most research indicates that prevalence increases with age up to 60-70 years, except in Asian populations, wherein an age-associated increase has not been found.
RLS sensations are worse at rest, decrease or are relieved with movement, and predominantly occur in the evening or at night. Increased rates of RLS are found among individuals diagnosed as afflicted with a broad range of disorders, a partial list of which includes Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), narcolepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, diabetes mellitus, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, obesity, thyroid disease, heart disease, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and peripheral neuropathy. A host of prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause or worsen RLS.
Clinically, “significant” RLS is defined by RLS symptoms causing substantial distress, sleep disturbance, or impairment in one or more aspects of daytime function/performance.