Restless Leg Syndrome
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Reviewed By:

Shohei Harase

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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Content updated on Jan 4, 2023

About the symptom

Restless leg syndrome is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Unexplained weight loss of 5% or more in 1 month

  • Fainting with loss of consciousness

  • Peripheral cyanosis

Possible causes

  • Anemia

    Anemia is a disorder where the body's tissues don't receive enough oxygen due to a lack of healthy red blood cells. There are several types of anemia with various causes, the most common being iron-deficiency anemia, which results from insufficient iron. Iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen.

  • Restless foot syndrome

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually due to an uncomfortable sensation. It typically occurs while sitting or lying down. The exact cause is unknown but may be related to a chemical (dopamine) imbalance in the brain. RLS can begin at any age and generally worsens with age. It can disrupt sleep, which interferes with daily activities.

  • Parkinson disease (PD)

    A progressive nervous system disorder affecting movement. It occurs due to nerve cell damage in the brain. The exact cause for PD is unknown. Risk factors include genetics, male gender, old age, and exposure to certain toxins and environmental factors.

Related serious diseases

  • Uremia / chronic renal failure

    Significant decrease in kidney function. Causes include repeated damage from infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, and autoimmunity (the body's immune system attacking itself).

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Do you feel your legs are restless and you can't sleep well?

Other Related Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

References

  • Klingelhoefer L, Bhattacharya K, Reichmann H. Restless legs syndrome. Clin Med (Lond). 2016 Aug;16(4):379-82. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.16-4-379. PMID: 27481386; PMCID: PMC6280211.

    https://www.rcpjournals.org/content/clinmedicine/16/4/379

  • Tipton PW, Wszołek ZK. Restless legs syndrome and nocturnal leg cramps: a review and guide to diagnosis and treatment. Pol Arch Intern Med. 2017 Dec 22;127(12):865-872. doi: 10.20452/pamw.4148. Epub 2017 Nov 9. PMID: 29120993.

    https://www.mp.pl/paim/issue/article/4148/

  • Gonzalez-Latapi P, Malkani R. Update on Restless Legs Syndrome: from Mechanisms to Treatment. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2019 Jun 27;19(8):54. doi: 10.1007/s11910-019-0965-4. PMID: 31250128.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11910-019-0965-4

  • Garcia-Malo C, Romero-Peralta S, Cano-Pumarega I. Restless Legs Syndrome - Clinical Features. Sleep Med Clin. 2021 Jun;16(2):233-247. doi: 10.1016/j.jsmc.2021.02.002. Epub 2021 Apr 24. PMID: 33985650.

    https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1556407X21000047

  • Trotti LM. Restless Legs Syndrome and Sleep-Related Movement Disorders. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2017 Aug;23(4, Sleep Neurology):1005-1016. doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000488. PMID: 28777173.

    https://journals.lww.com/continuum/Fulltext/2017/08000/Restless_Legs_Syndrome_and_Sleep_Related_Movement.9.aspx

Reviewed By:

Shohei Harase

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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