Restless Leg Syndrome, sometimes shortened to RLS, is a motor/movement disorder that causes an uncomfortable sensation that often brings about an urge to move the legs. The feeling of RLS is often described as a burning, itching, jittery or “creepy crawling” feeling running throughout the lower limbs.
The most common time of day for RLS to manifest itself is in the evening and at night, when a person with the condition is sitting or lying down. The purpose of the leg movement, whether conscious or subconscious, is to temporarily bring relief to the unpleasant feeling in the legs.
Because Restless Legs Syndrome impacts an estimated 7-10% of the population in the United States, it’s a condition that is worth letting more and more people know about. Restless Legs Awareness Day is here to do just that!
History of Restless Legs Awareness Day
Restless Legs Awareness Day aims to promote awareness of this medical condition or syndrome. The day was first established in 2012 and it is held on the same day each year to coincide with the birthdate of Professor Karl-Axel Ekborn (born September 23rd 1907, died 1977).
This eminent Swedish neurologist first wrote and described the disease in 1945. Since then, a lot has been learned about its symptoms although to date there is no known primary cause. Some researchers believe that it may be associated with dopamine, blood iron levels, or possibly underlying issues in the veins. Secondary causes may include some medications or other predisposing medical conditions.
Characterized by urges to move the legs even when at rest, Restless Leg Syndrome can actually also sometimes occur in the arms, but this is less common.
Restless Legs Awareness Day aims to increase understanding of RLS and the jerky movements and in some cases distress caused. A cure is still being sought, but more information becomes available all the time as research and studies are performed.
In 2013, the state of North Carolina in the USA proclaimed that this day should be observed by all citizens. And now, more than a decade after its founding, Restless Legs Awareness Day is an annual event that continues to grow in scope and impact.
How to Celebrate Restless Legs Awareness Day
For medical professionals, folks who have RLS, or those who love someone who does, Restless Legs Awareness Day offers a variety of opportunities to show support and raise awareness for the condition. Try out some of these ideas for observing the day:
Learn More About Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
One superb way to observe Restless Legs Awareness Day would be to get more informed about the condition in order to share information and raise awareness about it. Do a little bit of online research or head over to a local library to check out some books on the subject and find out more. Get started with some of these facts about RLS:
Certain People are More Susceptible to RLS
Those who are on dialysis as well as pregnant women are much more likely to suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome.
Genetics May Determine who Gets RLS
Some studies show that between 40-90% of people with Restless Legs Syndrome claim at least one close relative who also has the disorder.
Gentle Exercise May Help with RLS
Some doctors and physical therapists will prescribe gentle stretching exercises such as those incorporated with yoga, swimming and cycling to help with symptoms of this condition.
See a Doctor About Restless Legs Syndrome
Those who suspect that they may have RLS may want to commit to seeing a doctor in honor of Restless Legs Awareness Day. This day could be a great motivation to make that call to a medical professional to find out more and determine if a diagnosis is needed. Those who don’t have the condition themselves but have a friend or family member who does can use this day as an opportunity to be supportive and encouraging as they seek the medical help they need.