Restless Leg Syndrome
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Reviewed By:

Benjamin Kummer, MD

Benjamin Kummer, MD (Neurology)

Dr Kummer is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), with joint appointment in Digital and Technology Partners (DTP) at the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) as Director of Clinical Informatics in Neurology. As a triple-board certified practicing stroke neurologist and informaticist, he has successfully improved clinical operations at the point of care by acting as a central liaison between clinical neurology faculty and DTP teams to implement targeted EHR configuration changes and workflows, as well as providing subject matter expertise on health information technology projects across MSHS. | Dr Kummer also has several years’ experience building and implementing several informatics tools, presenting scientific posters, and generating a body of peer-reviewed work in “clinical neuro-informatics” – i.e., the intersection of clinical neurology, digital health, and informatics – much of which is centered on digital/tele-health, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. He has spearheaded the Clinical Neuro-Informatics Center in the Department of Neurology at ISMMS, a new research institute that seeks to establish the field of clinical neuro-informatics and disseminate knowledge to the neurological community on the effects and benefits of clinical informatics tools at the point of care.

Shohei Harase, MD

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 Nov 7, 2023

About the symptom

Restless leg syndrome is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually because of a difficult to describe but uncomfortable sensation in the legs or lower half of the body. It tends to occur more at night and during prolonged periods of sitting. The cause is unknown in most cases, although in a minority of cases it can be caused by certain medications. Treatment consists of medications to reduce leg movements.

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

  • Restless foot syndrome

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. RLS 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 is more common in older people. It can disrupt sleep, interfering with daily activities. Risk factors include low iron, abnormal kidney function, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord problems.

  • 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.

  • 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

    The build-up of toxins in the blood that is caused by decreased kidney function. Causes include repeated damage from infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, and autoimmunity (the body's immune system attacking itself). It usually occurs with chronic and end-stage renal disease but may occur in acute kidney injury as well. When toxins that are usually filtered out by the kidneys, stay in the blood, symptoms such as fatigue, cognitive issues, shortness of breath, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting can occur.

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Are your legs restless and affecting your sleep?

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

  • 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:

Benjamin Kummer, MD

Benjamin Kummer, MD (Neurology)

Dr Kummer is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), with joint appointment in Digital and Technology Partners (DTP) at the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) as Director of Clinical Informatics in Neurology. As a triple-board certified practicing stroke neurologist and informaticist, he has successfully improved clinical operations at the point of care by acting as a central liaison between clinical neurology faculty and DTP teams to implement targeted EHR configuration changes and workflows, as well as providing subject matter expertise on health information technology projects across MSHS. | Dr Kummer also has several years’ experience building and implementing several informatics tools, presenting scientific posters, and generating a body of peer-reviewed work in “clinical neuro-informatics” – i.e., the intersection of clinical neurology, digital health, and informatics – much of which is centered on digital/tele-health, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. He has spearheaded the Clinical Neuro-Informatics Center in the Department of Neurology at ISMMS, a new research institute that seeks to establish the field of clinical neuro-informatics and disseminate knowledge to the neurological community on the effects and benefits of clinical informatics tools at the point of care.

Shohei Harase, MD

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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