Restless Leg Syndrome simply referred to as RLS is a sensorimotor condition that makes you want to move your feet. RLS affects about 10% of the adult population in the US. Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis is important since the disorder can easily be confused with insomnia, neurological or orthopedic disorders.
Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis is made even difficult by the fact that about 40% of clinicians diagnose the condition as depression. Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis depends primarily on symptoms. It is hardly possible to diagnose the condition with laboratory tests.
Restless Leg Syndrome Diagnosis: The Basic Criteria
Before exploring other factors, Restless Legs Syndrome diagnosis is done by considering the following symptoms. Virtually all the RLS patients will the following sign at the point of diagnosis.
In Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis, the first symptom to be considered is the urge to move legs. Most of the time, prior to experiencing this feeling, the patients feel an uncomfortable sensation. RLS patients usually describe this sensation as:
- Worms moving in the legs
- Electric current passing in the legs
- The urge to move legs worsens at rest
After the above first level of Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis is confirmed, the patient has to show that the creepy feeling worsens while at rest. Indeed, the urge to move legs is more as the day gets old. It is even worse when the person is sleeping or seated.
This is the third most important symptom in Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis. RLS experience immediate relief in the creepy sensation when the legs are moved. In fact, the urge to move legs is due to the need to experience quick relief. The need to keep legs moving makes it difficult to achieve and maintain sleep.
In Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis, the patient has to confirm that the symptoms of RLS increase at night. During the day the creepy sensation is less probably the patient is active. This forth symptom is consistent with the than the creepy sensation increases in sleep or at rest.
Restless Leg Syndrome Diagnosis: Supportive Features
Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis is only confirmed if the above 4 symptoms are not only present but also clear. The following symptoms used in Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis are only supportive and cannot stand alone.
The prevalence of RLS is 3-5 times higher among first degree relatives. In a study, 70% of children with RLS were found to have at least one parent with the disease. Family history does not mean than a person will have RLS since environmental and other factors come to play.
Response to Dopaminergics
Dopaminergics are drugs used to treat various neurological disorders. Majority is patients with RLS respond to various types of dopaminergics in lower quantities than those used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Response to dopaminergics can therefore be used in Restless Leg Syndrome diagnosis.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
This is a disease where patients are observed to involuntarily jerk or twitch their legs during sleep. Unlike RLS, the patient is not aware and the jerking movements are only seen at night. Most at times, the sleeping partner is the first one to notice PLMD. About 80% of people suffering from RLS also suffer from PLMD.