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Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a nerve problem. It is an urge to move the legs that you can’t control.
The cause is unknown. It may be due to your genes. In some cases, it can be from health problems or certain medicines.
RLS is more common in women. It can happen at any age, but happens more often in adults.
Things that raise your risk are:
Certain long-term diseases may lead to RLS. These are:
You may have:
People with RLS often have insomnia, which may be severe.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is based mainly on your symptoms. There is no test for RLS.
Tests to check for health problems that may trigger RLS are:
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There is no cure for RLS. Treatments are aimed at relieving or reducing symptoms.
Mild cases can be treated with self care:
Treating problems that may trigger RLS can ease symptoms or make them go away:
Dopamine agonists are the only drugs that are approved to treat RLS. They are thought to be the most helpful type of medicine for it.
Other medicines may be used to help control symptoms. Some medicines are high blood pressure medicine, antiseizure medicine, and opioids. The medicine you are given will be based on your symptoms and health history.
There is no way to prevent RLS.
National Sleep Foundation
Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
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Restless legs syndrome (RLS). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114812/Restless-legs-syndrome-RLS. Updated June 26, 2017. Accessed June 18, 2018.
Restless legs syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm. Updated May 9, 2017. Accessed June 18, 2018.
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11/26/2012 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114812/Restless-legs-syndrome-RLS: Aurora R, Kristo D, Bista S, et al. The treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder in adults—an update for 2012: Practice parameters with an evidence-based systematic review and meta-analyses: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. Sleep. 2012;35(8):1039-1062.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 6/18/2018