Restless Legs Syndrome is one of the most common ailments most people have never heard about. Despite the fact that RLS affects as many of 10% of us, few patients are willing to talk about it and many sufferers are undiagnosed.
Perhaps it’s because RLS causes a number of unusual symptoms that sufferers aren’t willing to share such as: creeping, crawling sensations; burning and tingling; pins and needles, and what has been described as a feeling that’s similar to bugs crawling up and down their legs. Also, no standard diagnostic test has been developed for RLS.
Following are some of the unusual or odd facts surrounding Restless Legs Syndrome:
- The onset of RLS has been known to cause panic attacks.
- It’s a misconception that Restless Legs Syndrome causes involuntary leg movement. Instead, people who have RLS experience an almost overwhelming need to move the affected legs because of the incredible discomfort or pain.
- Strenuous exercise exacerbates the condition, while a moderate exercise regimen can ease the symptoms.
- RLS has been classified by physicians and researchers as both a neurological and sleep disorder.
- Clinical studies indicate that sleep deprivation (which RLS can cause) results in an overall weakening of the immune system, risk of a variety of chronic illnesses, and even psychological effects including memory loss, mood swings and depression. Sleep deprivation is linked to a significant impact on one’s life expectancy.
- The symptoms of RLS occur primarily at night, when you’re trying to rest. Few patients have symptoms during the day.
- The cause of RLS is unknown although researchers have discovered that the syndrome tends to run in families, although studies have shown that RLS patients tend to have low levels of iron in the brain.
- Many people with RLS fail to seek medical help simply because they find it difficult to describe their symptoms.
- According to Healthcentral.com, a 2010 study reveals that people with fibromyalgia (FM) are 11 times more likely to have restless legs syndrome (RLS) than the general population.
- Twice as many women are afflicted with Restless Legs Syndrome than men.
- Symptoms of RLS tend to become increasingly more severe as we age.
- Studies show that RLS affects almost a million school is estimated to affect almost 1 million school-age kids; a third of these children reportedly have moderate to severe symptoms.
- Some healthcare practitioners wrongly attribute the symptoms of RLS to nervousness, insomnia, stress, arthritis, muscle cramps, or aging.
- According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 80 percent of people with RLS also experience a more common condition known as periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS).
- RLS can occur during pregnancy but the symptoms usually go away after childbirth. The causes of RLS during pregnancy are unknown; however some researchers suspect low levels of iron, which is common during pregnancy. Some studies have linked iron deficiency to RLS.
Mayo Clinic: Restless Leg Syndrome
University of Maryland Medical Center: Restless Leg Syndrome