Restless legs syndrome: etiology, diagnostics and treatment

Agnė Norbutaitė1

1Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania


Restless legs syndrome is a common neurological sensorimotor disorder, characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs due to unpleasant and uncomfortable, sometimes even painful sensations in lower extremities. Symptoms often begin during periods of rest, in the evening or night. The urge to move and accompanying sensations are usually relieved by movement. The syndrome can develop at any age, but prevalence is higher in elderly people. The pathophysiology of the disease is not entirely clear, but it is thought that genetic factors together with impaired dopamine and iron metabolism have an important role in it. Diagnosis of restless legs syndrome is based on clinical symptoms and treatment depends on the severity and frequency of the symptoms. Mild symptoms usually do not require treatment. Medication is prescribed for moderate and severe symptoms. First-line treatments include dopaminergic agents and α2δ ligands. It is important to diagnose and treat restless legs syndrome, because it can result in significant sleep disturbances and impaired quality of life.

Keywords: Restless legs syndrome, diagnostic criteria, treatment.