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'Restless legs syndrome' underdiagnosed

Posted - Sep. 20, 2004 at 4:20 p.m.



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ROCHESTER, Minn., Sep 20, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A Minnesota foundation says restless legs syndrome is more prevalent in the United States than commonly recognized.

The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation said a survey, conducted by GlaxoSmithKline, found nearly 64 percent of respondents had not heard of RLS when identified by name only.

But when described in detail, more than 22 percent responded that they or someone they know has experienced symptoms associated with the disorder.

RLS is a disruptive neurologic movement disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs and by uncomfortable, often very unpleasant sensations in the legs sometimes described as creeping-crawling, burning or twitching.

The symptoms typically occur in the evening and may disrupt normal sleep. Previous epidemiological studies have demonstrated a prevalence of approximately 10 percent.

"Restless legs syndrome is the most common medical condition you've never heard of," said Bob Waterman, chairman of the RLS Foundation's board of directors and an RLS sufferer.

"The disease remains largely under-diagnosed, and people whose lives and families are disrupted by the symptoms of RLS should talk to their physician."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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