Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking Steps Against Restless Legs Syndrome

(NAPSI)-Despite years of research, restless legs syndrome (RLS) is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, but a new educational initiative aims to change that.

What Is RLS?

RLS is a serious condition that has affected people for many years, but it has not always been taken seriously, and is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Approximately 10 percent of American adults suffer from this neurological sensorimotor disorder, which causes uncomfortable and sometimes painful creeping, crawling and tugging sensations in the legs.

People with RLS often feel as though they have to move their legs, by walking or stretching, in order to make the uncomfortable feelings go away. These sensations tend to get worse with inactivity, sitting for a long time or even just relaxing, like when watching television or taking a long car ride. Because the symptoms usually intensify in the evening and at night, they often interfere with the ability to sleep.

What's Being Done

The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation (RLS Foundation) and National Sleep Foundation (NSF) have partnered on an educational initiative in an effort to increase awareness of RLS and help people better understand that they are not alone and that there are ways to successfully manage their symptoms. The initiative, which is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., features the stories of people living with RLS as well as a unique educational Web site.

One Woman's Story

Among those featured on the Web site is Lynne, who is living with RLS, and explained: "I would be up pacing at night while my family was sleeping. By the time my symptoms subsided and I could fall asleep, it was time for my family to get up. I felt like I lived alone, living on the sidelines of my own life."

To help people living with RLS like Lynne, the Web site features a search tool for finding health care professionals who specialize in RLS and related conditions, a symptom diary, and tips to help start a conversation about RLS with a health care professional. Everyone experiences RLS differently, so it is important for a health care professional to diagnose and determine the best way to control RLS symptoms.

Learn More

For more information, visit WhatisRLS.org.

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