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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

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Restless leg syndrome (RLS) causes extreme discomfort in the legs, and an uncontrollable urge to move them. Although not life threatening, RLS can disrupt sleep resulting in fatigue. The healthcare professionals at Florida Hospital specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders such as restless leg syndrome. They combine expertise in nutrition, exercise and drug therapies that relieve the symptoms of RLS. People who experience the symptoms of restless leg syndrome are encouraged to contact the Institute and take steps that will improve their quality of life.

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Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological movement disorder characterized by uncomfortable, sometimes painful, sensations in the legs causing an often overwhelming desire to move. People describe these sensations variously as throbbing, pulling, tingling, crawling or creeping. While it seems counterintuitive, trying to relax simply triggers the symptoms, constantly interrupting sleep. The resulting exhaustion reduces concentration and impairs memory, negatively affecting a person’s work, personal relationships, activities and attitude. Moving the legs seems to provide at least temporary relief.

RLS affects about twice as many women as men. It may begin at any age, but more severely affects people of middle-age and older. As a person ages, the symptoms occur more frequently for longer periods, particularly when a person has other associated medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or diabetes. Having RLS does not indicate the presence or other neurological disorders, but most affected people also have periodic limb movement during sleep (PLMS), a more common condition that causes leg twitching and jerky movements during sleep.