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Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep

Restless Legs Syndrome, Periodic Leg Movements | SingHealth Duke-NUS Sleep Centre

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - What it is

Restless Legs Syndrome and  Periodic Limb Movements in - SingHealth Duke-NUS Sleep Centre

What are Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep (PLMS)?

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a sensory-motor neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs. It often begins at a very young age but is mostly diagnosed in the middle or later years.

When an involuntary twitching or jerking of the legs occurs during sleep, it is known as Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep (PLMS).

The prevalence of RLS in the U.S and Europe is quoted to be around seven to 10 percent, whereas in Asia, it is reported to be around one to four percent. A local study done in Singapore showed a RLS prevalence of less than one percent. It is more common in women.

80 percent of RLS patients have PLMS. PLMS is usually picked up incidentally on overnight sleep studies. It is only clinically significant if it causes symptoms.

COMPLICATIONS

RLS can affect your quality of life. Both RLS and PLMS can disturb sleep by causing sleep initiation insomnia and sleep maintenance insomnia respectively.

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - Symptoms

  1. The patients often describe an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs. Occasionally, the arms can be affected.
  2. The symptoms are worse in the evening or at night.
  3. The symptoms are relieved by moving the legs.
  4. The symptoms are worse at rest.

Signs and symptoms of RLS and PLMS - SingHealth Duke-NUS Sleep Centre

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - How to prevent?

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - Causes and Risk Factors

In the majority of cases, the underlying cause is unknown. Iron metabolism and dopamine, a neurochemical in the brain, are believed to play a role in causing RLS/PLMS.

RLS are often seen in patients with low iron levels, kidney failure, diabetes mellitus and low thyroid hormone.

About one in five pregnant women suffer from RLS in the last three months of pregnancy. The symptoms usually disappear after delivery. Some medications, for example, antidepressants, can trigger and worsen RLS/PLMS.

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - Diagnosis

The diagnosis of RLS lies entirely on clinical features. An overnight sleep study is occasionally used to diagnose PLMS.

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - Treatments

Managing restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movements in sleep - SingHealth Duke-NUS Sleep Centre

First, to treat the underlying cause, if any. This includes stopping any medications that can trigger RLS/PLMS, if possible.

It is important to maintain good sleep hygiene, quit smoking and exercise regularly during the day.

The drug treatment includes: dopamine agonists, alfa-2 delta ligands (gabapentin, pregabalin) and opioids.

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - Preparing for surgery

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - Post-surgery care

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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