Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
- Restless leg syndrome facts
- What is restless leg syndrome (RLS)?
- What causes restless leg syndrome?
- What are the symptoms of restless leg syndrome?
- How is restless leg syndrome diagnosed?
- Can other conditions mimic restless leg syndrome?
- What is the treatment for restless leg syndrome?
- What medications are used to treat restless leg syndrome?
- Are there any remedies or complimentary/alternative treatments for restless leg syndrome?
- Restless Legs Syndrome Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Quiz!
- Weird Body Quirks Slideshow
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) FAQs
- Patient Comments: Restless Leg Syndrome - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Restless Leg Syndrome - Experience
- Patient Comments: Restless Leg Syndrome - Symptoms
Restless leg syndrome facts
- Restless leg syndrome is a condition marked by unpleasant leg sensations at bedtime.
- Restless leg syndrome frequency leads to insomnia.
- The cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown in most individuals, but many conditions have been associated with it.
- Treatment of restless leg syndrome is directed toward any underlying illness, if known.
- Medications are available for restless leg syndrome.
What is restless leg syndrome (RLS)?
Restless leg syndrome (RLS, restless legs syndrome) is a common cause of painful legs. The leg pain of restless leg syndrome typically eases with motion of the legs and becomes more noticeable at rest. Restless leg syndrome also features worsening of symptoms and leg pain during the early evening or later at night.
Restless leg syndrome is often abbreviated RLS; it has also been termed shaking leg syndrome. Nighttime involuntary jerking of the legs during sleep are also known as periodic leg/limb movement disorder.
What causes restless leg syndrome?
The cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown in most people. However, restless leg syndrome has been associated with
- iron deficiency and anemia,
- nerve disease,
- polyneuropathy (which can be associated with hypothyroidism, heavy metal toxicity, toxins, and many other conditions),
- other hormone diseases such as diabetes, and
- kidney failure (which can be associated with vitamin and mineral deficiency).
Some drugs and medications have been associated with restless leg syndrome including:
- H2-histamine blockers (such as ranitidine [Zantac] and cimetidine [Tagamet]), and certain antidepressants (such as amitriptyline [Elavil, Endep]).
Occasionally, restless leg syndrome run in families. Recent studies have shown that restless leg syndrome appears to become more common as a person ages. Also, poor venous circulation of the legs (such as with varicose veins) can cause restless leg syndrome.
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