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Restless Legs Syndrome

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that causes a powerful urge to move your legs and feet. You may also have pain, itching, tingling, throbbing, or pulling sensations in your legs. Movement relieves the symptoms for a short time. RLS is usually worse late in the day and at night. Your symptoms may come and go for days or weeks at a time, and worsen during periods of stress. It is important to treat and manage RLS to improve your quality of life.

What increases my risk for RLS?

  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, neuropathy, and Parkinson disease
  • Medicines to treat nausea, psychosis, depression, allergies, or seizures
  • A family history of RLS
  • Anemia due to low levels of iron, folic acid, or other nutrients

How is RLS diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you to describe your symptoms in detail. Tell him what triggers your symptoms, what time of day they occur, and what relieves them. Tell him what medicines you take, and if you have other health conditions.

How is RLS treated?

There is no cure for RLS, but you may receive medicine to help treat it. You must also learn how to manage your symptoms. Management will not get rid of symptoms, but will help reduce them.

  • Keep your legs warm with thick socks or an electric blanket. It may also help to take a hot bath or massage your legs before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially in the evening. Alcohol and caffeine may make your symptoms worse.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking worsens the symptoms of RLS. Ask your healthcare provider for information on programs to help you quit.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Lack of sleep makes RLS symptoms worse.
  • Stay active. Moderate physical activity such as walking and stretching may help relieve your symptoms. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You cannot sleep because of your symptoms.
  • Your symptoms are getting worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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