Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs, like a tugging, creeping, itching which causes an overwhelming urge to move them. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful. Restless Leg Syndrome is classified as a movement disorder, as people are forced to move their legs in order to alleviate the discomfort. These symptoms occur primarily at night when you’re at rest.
Primary RLS is the most common type of RLS. It is also referred to as familial (because it is hereditary) or idiopathic (because the causes are unknown) RLS.
Secondary RLS is believed to be caused by a separate underlying medical condition or in association with the use of certain drugs. Some of these conditions include varicose veins, kidney failure, low levels of iron or anemia, pregnancy, and peripheral neuropathy. Stress, diet or other environmental factors can also play a role in developing secondary Restless Leg Syndrome.
Most people with RLS have difficulty sleeping. Left untreated, the condition causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue and symptoms synonymous with other sleep disorders.