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The Fearless Caregiver 


Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief Caregiver Heads-Up

As if we don’t have enough challenges already as family caregivers, there is a one in 10 chance that restless legs syndrome (RLS) is keeping you and/and or your loved one up at night.

According to the RLS Foundation’s Web site, restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease (WED), is a disruptive neurologic disorder that seriously affects two to three percent of the adult population. RLS results in an irresistible urge to move the legs, which is often accompanied by unusual or unpleasant sensations in the legs that may be described as creeping, tugging, or pulling. Because RLS most often occurs in the evening, it can severely disrupt sleep and reduce quality of life. If you have restless legs syndrome, you are not alone. Up to 10 percent of the U.S. population may have RLS. Many people have a mild form of the disorder, but RLS severely affects the lives of millions of individuals.

Unfortunately, many people living with RLS never get proper treatment because it’s hard to explain and often misdiagnosed as simply being “nervous.” Even your physicians may not take your symptoms seriously and friends and family members who are not living with RLS have no idea how negatively RLS can impact your or your loved one’s quality of life

Do I or my loved one have restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

How many of the questions are true for you?

  • When you sit or lie down, do you have a strong desire to move your legs?
  • Does your desire to move your legs feel impossible to resist?
  • Have you ever used the words unpleasant, creepy crawly, creeping, itching, pulling, or tugging to describe your symptoms to others?
  • Does your desire to move often occur when you are resting or sitting still?
  • Does moving your legs make you feel better?
  • Do you complain of these symptoms more at night?
  • Do you keep your bed partner awake with the jerking movements of your legs?
  • Do you ever have involuntary leg movements while you are awake?
  • Are you tired or unable to concentrate during the day?
  • Do any of your family members have similar complaints?
  • Does a trip to the doctor only reveal that nothing is wrong and there is no physical cause for your discomfort?

If you answered "yes" to a majority of these questions, you may have RLS.


  Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine
Wednesday May 30, 2012


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