Restless Legs Syndrome is characterized by a number of symptoms—sensations experienced by an individual that are otherwise unobservable.
There are two major symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome:
The discomfort experienced by those with RLS has been described in a number of ways, including:
While it may feel different to each individual, it is clear that the sensation of restless legs is very different from muscle pain, cramps or the burning associated with neuropathy.
Given what is currently known and understood about Restless Legs Syndrome, the condition does not seem to negatively impact the health of the legs. In other words, RLS is not a risk factor for blood clots, nerve damage, muscle atrophy, etc. in the legs.
The main consequence of RLS is loss of hours and quality of sleep. Over time, lack of restorative sleep takes its toll on your health, increasing your risk for:
Poor sleep also affects your mental functioning, resulting in daytime sleepiness, inability to concentrate and/or difficulty remembering.
There are a number of treatment options for Restless Legs Syndrome, but before the right treatment can be identified, you need to rule out other medical conditions and find the cause of your RLS symptoms. A diagnostic sleep study is the first step.