You’ve all seen the ads. You might have even heard about the charges of “disease mongering” that have been bandied about, specifically about this disorder. We are going to start covering the topic of restless legs syndrome (RLS). (By the way, disease mongering is when someone with a financial interest in a disease, like a pharmaceutical company with an effective medicine, publicizes a disorder with the sole intention of convincing people that they are sick and therefore in need of medical treatment.)
First, let’s talk about the medical aspects and then return to some of the controversy (in later blogs). RLS sufferers have a variety of unpleasant sensations that they describe, but often have a hard time putting a finger on exactly what they feel. The typical description is that there is an almost irresistible sensation that causes the sufferer to move their legs.
These unpleasant sensations are rarely described ...
We started our discussion about restless legs syndrome (RLS) in my recent blog, so let’s continue where we left off.
Mild symptoms of RLS occur in 5-15% of the general population, which makes it the second or third most common sleep disorder. Of these cases, only about 2-3% are considered clinically severe enough to require treatment. It appears to occur more commonly in females and can even affect children. Due to the difficult to describe leg sensations that are felt, children may be wrongly diagnosed with “growing pains” or even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). RLS symptoms occur more commonly as we age. Individuals who experience symptoms at a younger age tend to worsen as they get older, though there cases when the disease resolves spontaneously when the sufferer gets older.
Sleep disturbance is a major complaint in patients and is usually the main reason why they seek medical help. Though the dis...
Symptoms include an urge to move the legs often associated with uncomfortable feeling in the legs (e.g. tingling, creepy, itching, pulling or aching) during periods of inactivity, including both sleep and wakefulness. Symptoms may also include involuntary jerking of the limbs that intensifies in the evening or at night and is relieved by movement. People with RLS tend to have difficulty falling or staying asleep and suffer from chronic sleep loss, leaving them with the cognitive and tired feelings that occur with sleep loss. Reviewed by Richard P. Allen, Ph.D.and Merrill M. Mitler, Ph.D. , May 2005.
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