Restless legs syndrome

From Academic Kids

Wittmaack-Ekbom or restless leg(s) syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system that affects sensation and movement in the legs and causes the limbs to feel uncomfortable. Relief can be temporarily gained by moving the legs which cause sufferers to seem fidgety and restless. It can affect up to 15 percent of the American population.

It is not to be confused with akathisia, a movement disorder that looks similar, but is caused as a side-effect of antipsychotic medication. Unlike restless legs syndrome sufferers, those with akathisia gain most relief by lying down and do not experience worsening of symptoms at night.

A study released in April 2005 of 19 French-Canadian families with the syndrome confirmed that one or more genes is responsible for it.

It's not just you.

Most people who have restless legs think it's only them. They walk the floors at night or otherwise try to make the feeling go away. Some have had this since childhood and are only now discovering that they are not alone or just plain crazy.

Many people only have this problem when they lay down to go to sleep, but some unlucky people (including this writer) also get the twitchies at work and end up pacing their cubicles or bouncing their knees so much that it rattles the floor. Some people get them on long car rides or during any long period of inactivity (like movies, dinners, etc).

There are a number of names used by sufferers: the twitchies, the walkies, the crawlies, Mouse-arms (after one couple's dog), chasing rabbits, and any number of other things that may come to mind when you are unable to sleep because you can not keep your arms or legs still. That's right - arms can come into play as well for the very unlucky.

There are doctors out there who have heard of this are willing to try to deal with the syndrome. Visit the sites below, particularly the RLS.ORG site, for much more information and for a great forum full of people with this problem.

Some patients have reported satisfactory relief using the medication Mirapex.

External links


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