Also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED), RLS is characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs (and sometimes also the arms) as well as uncontrollable urges to move the limbs when at rest.
It's a serious condition that can prevent a person from falling asleep; it can also persist throughout the night even while someone is sleeping, fragmenting sleep and preventing quality deep sleep from happening if left untreated.
A rhythmic movement disorder of sleep known as Periodic Leg Movement Disorder (PLMD) is a separate version of RLS in which the person who is sleeping undergoes specific patterns of leg movement during sleep that can be traced on an overnight polysomnogram.
Statistics posted at the What is RLS? website suggest that approximately three percent of adults are significantly affected by this disorder, which severely affects sleep, work, relationships, and quality of life."
Several organizations have joined together to sponsor this awareness day, including the World Association of Sleep Medicine, the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group, the European Alliance for Restless Legs Syndrome, the Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation and the European Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group.
Scientists still do not know conclusively what causes this disorder, but treatments are available for those who suffer.
Do you suspect that you or a loved one might be suffering from RLS or PLMD?
Learn more here:
- What is RLS?
- The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
- Follow the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation on Facebook
- Follow the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation on Twitter @RLSFoundation
- Learn more about Periodic Leg Movement Disorder from Cleveland Clinic, the National Sleep Foundation or the American Sleep Association.