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What is restless syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, is a syndrome that is characterized by uncomfortable sensations that cause an irresistible urge to move the legs, especially at night, according to WebMD. Some people with RLS also have an urge to move the arms or other body parts.

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Full Answer

The sensations experienced by those with RLS can feel itchy or like pins and needles in the affected area, notes WebMD. Symptoms can be mild in some people or intolerable in others, and symptoms may come and go. Most people with RLS experience a worsening of symptoms at night, while symptoms during the day are less disruptive.

Although it is more common in women than in men, RLS affects both men and women, according to WebMD. Up to 10 percent of the population suffers from the condition. It can begin at a very young age, although middle-aged and older people are usually affected more significantly.

Although the exact cause of RLS is unknown as of 2015, researchers believe that it is a genetically inherited disorder, since around 50 percent of those with RLS also have a family member who suffers from it, reports WebMD. It is also associated with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and with the use of some types of medications.

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