My Legs Bother Me at Night: Do I Have Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder affecting 7-10% of the population, and it’s classified as a sleep disorder.

Sleep disturbances can be a result of different issues and syndromes. The only way to diagnose RLS is through your description of your symptoms. 

At Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center, our expert vascular surgeons and vein specialists can diagnose and treat RLS so you get a good night's sleep and don’t suffer the consequences of sleep deprivation.

What is RLS?

RLS is when you experience an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, as well as an uncomfortable sensation. Restless leg syndrome occurs when you're lying down or reclining, and it ratchets up at night, making it difficult to get a good night's sleep.

With RLS, your symptoms subside once you walk around or move your legs. But the urge to move and unpleasant sensations usually return once you stop moving. RLS can affect both men and women at any age. It’s more common, though, in women and older adults. 

Our patients have described the sensations they experience as:

Symptoms can be mild or severe and may not occur regularly. In fact, some people can go months without issues. But 2-3% of the population experience symptoms so severe it affects their quality of life. 

How to diagnose RLS

There’s no medical test for restless leg syndrome. A diagnosis involves a description of your symptoms and meeting the following five criteria:

While we don’t know what causes restless leg syndrome, it is thought to have a genetic component if symptoms begin before age 40. Also, iron deficiency and neuropathy may be associated with RLS.

RLS treatment options 

Depending on your condition's severity and associated health issues, your treatment plan may include lifestyle changes, medications, and supplements. We recommend:

If tests reveal an iron deficiency, iron supplements may be part of your treatment plan. Medications are usually recommended as a treatment option for more severe cases of RLS.

If your legs bother you at night and you think you may have RLS, contact us at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center for an appointment with one of our vascular and vein specialists. We have offices in Port Jefferson, Hauppauge, and Riverhead, New York.

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