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  4. What are the diagnostic criteria for RLS?

Restless Legs SyndromeWhat are the diagnostic criteria for RLS?

A diagnosis of restless legs syndrome requires an interview of the patient to confirm whether or not they are experiencing the four key signs of RLS, in addition to any other symptoms. Since RLS is easily mistaken for other illnesses, additional examination of the patient may be necessary.

RLS is diagnosed based on symptoms expressed by the patient. Therefore, it may be a good idea to be able to report your symptoms as accurately as possible. Writing down your symptoms may be helpful in order to convey them clearly to your doctor.

Overall supervision by Dr. Yuichi Inoue
Professor, Department of Somnology, Tokyo Medical University
Director, Yoyogi Sleep Disorder Center, Tokyo, Japan

Checklist for when consulting your doctor

Four key signs of restless legs syndrome

Examples of RLS symptoms

Location of symptoms

When the symptoms appear

Actions that relieve symptoms

Change in symptoms after taking action

Time of day symptoms appear

While sleeping

Since the patient's reported symptoms form the basis of an RLS diagnosis, it is necessary to rule out similar symptoms for other diseases. Along with accurately conveying the discomfort felt in the legs, it is important to tell your doctor about any other illnesses for which you may be currently undergoing treatment.

Other diseases with symptoms similar to RLS and which can 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