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Eur J Neurol. 2006 Oct;13 Suppl 3:2-7.

RLS patients: who are they?

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1
University Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Royal Free & University College Medical School and Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, UK. anthony.schapira@royalfree.nhs.uk

Abstract

Four essential diagnostic criteria for restless legs syndrome (RLS) have been identified. Patients experience an urge to move the legs, which typically begins or worsens during periods of rest. The symptoms are at least partially relieved by movement, and are typically worse in the evening and night than in the day. All four criteria are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of RLS. In addition, a family history of RLS, the presence of periodic leg movements in sleep, and a positive response to dopaminergic therapy are useful supportive clinical features to confirm the diagnosis. Whilst many cases of RLS are idiopathic, secondary RLS is often observed in pregnant women, patients who have severe renal dysfunction, or in those with iron deficiency. Several other conditions have symptoms similar to those of RLS, but a detailed patient history is usually sufficient to identify these differential diagnoses. The accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of RLS should result in considerable improvements in patients' quality of life.

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