Restless Leg Syndrome
Alternate Names : Nocturnal Myoclonus, Akathisia
Restless leg syndrome involves unusual sensations in the legs that cause
frequent leg movements.
What is going on in the body?
No one knows exactly why restless leg syndrome occurs. People who suffer from
restless leg syndrome have uncontrollable urges to move their legs. A feeling
of discomfort in the leg prompts the need for movement. For some people, these
sensations may be the result of nerve damage. The sensations may also be caused
by decreased blood flow through some vessels in the legs.
These leg movements often occur after a person has gone to bed. This can make
sleeping difficult. When the urge to move the leg happens during the day, a
person may have to get up and walk around to relieve the discomfort.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
While the exact cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown, there is a strong
genetic link. It tends to run in families. In a recent study of
twins with restless leg syndrome, 10 out of 12 pairs reported having the syndrome.
Restless leg syndrome is also more common in:
people who are 40 years of age or older
individuals who are under a lot of
women, especially in
third trimester of
people with disorders of nerves that supply the muscles and skin, called
peripheral nerve diseases
people with poor circulation who have intermittent limping, also called claudication, or leg
pain that occurs when the person is walking
anemia, or a low
blood cell count. Many times, the anemia is caused by a low level of iron or
folic acid in the person's body.
people with certain diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson's disease,
rheumatoid arthritis, chronic renal
diabetes, and alcoholism
The symptoms of restless leg syndrome seem to be worsened by food and drinks that are high in