What is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move when at rest in an effort to relieve these feelings. RLS sensations are often described by people as burning, creeping, tugging, or like insects crawling inside the legs. Often called paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), the sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.
The most distinctive or unusual aspect of the condition is that lying down and trying to relax activates the symptoms. As a result, most people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Left untreated, the condition causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue. Many people with RLS report that their job, personal relations, and activities of daily living are strongly affected as a result of their exhaustion. They are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks.
What is Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)
The experience of Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) includes involuntary movements in the legs during the night while the person is asleep. The person may or may not notice the movements while sleeping. The movements, while most common in the legs, can also affect the arms. They occur at fairly regular intervals of about 30 seconds. They are most common in the stage of sleep known as non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which usually occurs during the first half of the night. A person who suffers from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) usually experiences periodic limb movements, but people who have PLMD do not necessarily have RLS. Periodic limb movements can wake the person from sleep throughout the night or go unnoticed.