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A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)


Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Restless legs syndrome is a condition affecting the nervous system in which your legs, and occasionally your arms feel extremely uncomfortable. It also causes an unpleasant feeling in the feet, calves and thighs, which is often felt as a crawling or creeping sensation.  It usually happens in the evenings while you are sitting or lying down. It makes you feel like getting up and moving around. When you do so, the unpleasant feeling of restless legs syndrome temporarily goes away.

Restless legs syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. Restless legs syndrome is also associated with involuntary jerking of the legs and arms, known as periodic limb movements.

Women are twice as likely to develop restless legs syndrome than men. The condition is also more common in middle age, but the symptoms can develop at any age, including childhood. Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep leading to daytime drowsiness and make traveling difficult.

In the majority of cases, there is no obvious cause of restless legs syndrome. Some cases of restless legs syndrome are caused by an underlying health condition, such as iron deficiency anaemia, or kidney failure. Doctors may refer to this as secondary RLS.
 
There is also a link between restless legs syndrome and pregnancy and around one in five pregnant women will experience symptoms in the last three months of their pregnancy, although it is not clear exactly why. In this case, it often goes away once the woman has given birth.

If the symptoms of RLS are more severe, see your doctor as medication may be needed.

 


Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies
    


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