Restless Legs Syndrome – Why Can’t I Sleep?
Restless legs syndrome is a movement disorder that affects approximately 10% of the American population. Affected individuals have the uncontrollable urge to move their legs, particularly at night when sleeping. Symptoms can also occur with sitting for prolonged periods of time such as when driving, flying or watching a movie. If the condition worsens, the arms can also be affected. Patients with RLS can have a numbness, burning or tingling sensation in their extremities. RLS causes significant sleep difficulties and over time, chronic sleep deprivation. Patients can find it difficult to fall asleep or are awakened repeatedly at night from their legs moving. This will also disturb their bed partner’s sleep. Another movement disorder called Periodic Limb Movements frequently accompanies RLS, affects patients. PLM occur only when a patient is asleep.
RLS and PLMs can be effectively treated with readily available medications that are effective for most individuals. Requip was approved by the FDA one year ago and Mirapex November 2006 for treatment of RLS. Improved quality of sleep results in lessening of a risk of medical problems. Job security and quality of life are also dramatically improved. Physicians specializing in sleep or movement disorders should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.