How to diagnose Restless Legs Syndrome.

How to diagnose Restless Legs Syndrome.

How to Diagnose Restless Legs Syndrome

The diagnosticcriteria of RLS have been established and formalised by the International RLSStudy Group. A diagnosis of RLS is based on the patient’s clinical history.


Itshould be positive for four key features. The most important is Akathisia theoverriding need to move one’s limbs which is accompanied by many unpleasantsymptoms. If the patient presents with a simple tapping foot or shaking leg onits own without the compulsion to move this is not RLS.


The secondmost prevalent symptom is that it occurs when the patient is at rest or lyingdown ie in a state of relaxation. The third is that relief is obtained eitherfully or partially by physical activity. Symptoms follow a circadian pattern occurringprimarily at night and are much lesssevere in the daytime. Even the most severe sufferers have relative respite inthe late morning and early afternoon.


Diagnosis isoften difficult due to the non standardisation of names for the symptoms whichare variously described eg as creepy, crawly and tingly, nervous feet, crazylegs and pepsi cola in the veins!
The symptomsof RLS are usually in the legs but often in severe cases the arms are involved. Most cases begin withleg symptoms but some with arms. Sometimes symptoms can be experienced in otherparts of the body even in the genitals.

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