Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Willis-Ekbom disease, better known as restless legs syndrome or RLS, is a (sleep) condition that affects between 7% and 10% of the people in our country. Despite the condition’s name referring to the legs, it can be so bad that symptoms occur throughout the body. RLS isn’t dangerous, but it can affect someone’s life so severely that some patients cannot sleep and/or live their daily lives. This makes it important for everyone to know how to recognize restless legs syndrome and if there are any ways to get rid of it.

What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome is a sleep condition where, often, the legs begin to move uncontrollably, caused by an uncomfortable or even painful sensation in one – or both – legs. Despite being called a sleep disorder, RLS happens in the evening, for example when laying in bed or when sitting for a long time. You may find it difficult or impossible to fall asleep because of this “restlessness,” resulting in little to no sleep – hence the sleeping disorder. Often people suffering from RLS find relief in walking around and shaking their extremities.

Causes & Risk Factors of Restless Legs Syndrome
Often restless legs syndrome is a genetic condition, in other words, it is passed on from parent to child. More than 90% of the people with RLS have a parent, sibling, or child with the same condition. Women have a bigger chance of getting restless legs syndrome and these symptoms may worsen or occur during (the last trimester) of pregnancy. Developing the syndrome also increases significantly as we get older. In addition, it may also be caused (as a symptom) by any of the following medical conditions:

Continue reading on the next page and discover how you can recognize restless legs syndrome and if there are ways to treat this condition.