About 5-15% of people have this disorder. It can occur as early as childhood, but most often in adulthood, more commonly in women.
The symptoms are as follows:
- A strong, almost compelling urge to move your legs, which is associated with unpleasant feeling; such as, tingling, crawling, or cramping.
- The urge to move is relieved by movement (walking or stretching), at least as long as the activity continues.
- The symptoms are most pronounced in the evening and at night.
The cause should be sought in genetic predisposition, but it can also occur in some diseases (eg anaemia, parkinsonism, impaired renal function) and in pregnancy. The diagnosis is usually made by a neurologist or a subspecialist for sleep disorders.
Treatment: Persons who have symptoms should analyze whether their symptoms occur or worsen after consuming alcoholic beverages, certain types of food, coffee, etc. It should also be noted that some medications, especially antipsychotics, can intensify the disorder.
Medications are used in more severe cases, usually low doses of drugs that are otherwise used in the treatment of parkinsonism. It is not always necessary to take medicine daily. Sometimes a neurologist may recommend that the drug be taken only in certain situations when symptoms are expected to occur, for example, before a long flight or going to the theatre.