Restless Legs Syndrome

An Overview With an Emphasis on Women
  • David M. Hiestand
  • Barbara Phillips
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensorimotor disorder that affects sleep in up to 15% of the population. Individuals experience uncomfortable sensations of the extremities, which occur with inactivity and are relieved with activity. Because of the circadian rhythmicity of these symptoms, RLS symptoms can interfere with sleep onset. Symptom descriptors are varied; some commonly used terms are “creepy-crawly,” “uncomfortable,” “pins and needles,” and “internal itch.” Regardless of the descriptor, symptoms of RLS include a compelling urge to move, as they are usually improved with movement, and patients frequently resort to flexing, stretching, and vigorous movement. The end result is typically poor quality of sleep, leading to excessive daytime somnolence and feelings of fatigue. Althugh the disorder affects both genders, it is more common in women (in most populations studied) and is associated with several medical conditions including uremia, anemia, diabetes, pregnancy, and menopause.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Periodic Limb Movement Unpleasant Sensation Periodic Limb Movement Disorder Periodic Limb Movement Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Hiestand
    • 1
  • Barbara Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep MedicineUniversity of Kentucky Medical Center and Samaritan Sleep Disorders CenterLexington

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