tiredBy Jena Williams

It is estimated that 12 million people in the United States suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) – that twitchy, crawly feeling that makes you feel like you need to jump up and go for a walk in the middle of the night. Although RLS usually affects the legs of sufferers when they try to relax in the evening, it can also affect arms and even the trunk of the body. According to the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation, Inc., you might be suffering from RLS if:

  • You have a strong urge to move your legs which you may not be able to resist. The need to move is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Some words used to describe these sensations include: creeping, itching, pulling, creepy-crawly, tugging, or gnawing.
  • Your RLS symptoms start or become worse when you are resting. The longer you are resting, the greater the chance the symptoms will occur and the more severe they are likely to be.
  • Your RLS symptoms get better when you move your legs. The relief can be complete or only partial but generally starts very soon after starting an activity. Relief persists as long as the motor activity continues.
  • Your RLS symptoms are worse in the evening especially when you are lying down. Activities that bother you at night do not bother you during the day.

Doctors are learning more about the syndrome and have discovered that nearly every person affected by it has abnormally low levels of iron. There is also some evidence of magnesium deficiency.

RLS negatively impacts the sleep of sufferers and their bed partners. It can cause daytime sleepiness and inattention on the job. You may even notice your legs getting restless while driving if you have been sitting for a long time. If you suspect that you have RLS, see your doctor. He or she can prescribe medications or supplements to bring you relief! For more information visit the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation, Inc. web site at www.rls.org.

NOTE: Restless Leg Syndrome will soon change its name to Willis-Ekbom disease.