Restless Leg Syndrome (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of restless leg syndrome?

Many different symptoms are described by people with restless leg syndrome, for example:

  • leg pain,
  • cramps,
  • tingling,
  • itchy,
  • burning, and
  • aching.

The characteristic nighttime worsening of symptoms in persons with restless legs syndrome frequency leads to insomnia. Because of lack of sleep, children and some adults may be very drowsy, irritable, and aggressive during daytime hours.

Restless leg syndrome usually begins slowly. Over time, the legs become more affected. Less frequently, restless leg syndrome can affect the arms.

How is restless leg syndrome diagnosed?

The National Institutes of Health says that four criteria must be met for the diagnosis of RLS in a person (adult or child):

  • A strong urge to move your legs. This urge often, but not always, occurs with unpleasant feelings in your legs. When the disorder is severe, you also may have the urge to move your arms.
  • Symptoms that start or get worse when you're inactive. The urge to move increases when you're sitting still or lying down and resting.
  • Relief from moving. Movement, especially walking, helps relieve the unpleasant feelings.
  • Symptoms that start or get worse in the evening or at night.

Can other conditions mimic restless leg syndrome?

There are many conditions which can mimic restless leg syndrome including:

In children, restless leg syndrome is often misdiagnosed as "growing pains."

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014

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