According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 10 percent of American adults have restless legs syndrome (RLS). RLS is a neurologic sensorimotor disorder that is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest.
While there is no definitive cause of the disorder, it is believed to be related to a dopamine shortage in the brain. People who have RLS often experience feelings of creeping or crawling, itchiness, burning and/or throbbing in their legs, and the symptoms tend to worsen in the evenings, close to bedtime.
Four in five people who have RLS develop a sleep disorder known as periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). This condition causes individuals’ limbs to move during sleep, which arouses them throughout the night and prohibits them from entering into the deeper stages of sleep.
People with periodic limb movement disorder often experience the classic symptoms of a sleeping disorder, such as headaches, lack of energy, feelings of fatigue during the day and falling asleep at inappropriate times.
Because consistent limb movement throughout the night could be caused by other underlying sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, it is important to have an in-lab sleep study conducted to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center (next to Wesley Long Hospital) and Annie Penn Sleep Disorders Center (in Reidsville) both provide comprehensive sleep studies with state-of-the-art sleep monitoring equipment and a dedicated team of board-certified sleep medicine specialists, sleep technologists and respiratory therapists.
Christy Hall is the manager of Annie Penn Sleep Center and Respiratory Therapy and has been a respiratory therapist for twenty-five years. She is a graduate of California College of Health Sciences with a degree in respiratory therapy.