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  4. What kind of illness is restless legs syndrome?

Restless Legs SyndromeWhat kind of illness is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes you to feel discomfort in the legs. When you get into bed at night and try to fall asleep, or when you are sitting on a plane, train, or in a movie theater, you feel discomfort in your legs, which eases when you move them.

A survey conducted in Japan estimated that 2% to 4% of the population, or 2.5 to 5 million people, suffer from RLS. It is thought that about 700,000 of these people need treatment.

Male/female ratio

For every two men with RLS there are three women with the condition.

Age distribution

Survey results in Europe and North America indicate that people are more likely to get RLS as they age.

Prevalence of RLS by gender, age group (European and North American surveys)

Allen, R. P. et al: Arch. Intern. Med., 165(11), 1286-1292, 2005

Other diseases with symptoms similar to to RLS and which may be misdiagnosed

  • Insomnia: Unable to fall asleep at night
  • Sciatica: Discomfort or pain in the legs
  • Depression: To feel in a low mood with a loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Skin disease: Unpleasant sensations of the skin