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Restless Leg Syndrome

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by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough

Call it the power of advertising but a few years ago restless leg syndrome was a condition that few knew about despite the fact that it has long been a common cause of sleep problems. But now that there is medication to treat it and money to be made, restless leg advertisements are as common as some cereal or car advertisements.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder and it affects a significant percentage of adults to some degree although many go without treatment and deal with it. People who have the problem have an urge to move the legs when they are resting and it can get worse at night.

People with restless leg are often weakened by the problem. We find that it is more common in pregnancy. Research has shown it may be related to a problem with a chemical called dopamine in the brain and the central nervous system.

On the positive side, the advertising is causing more people to ask about restless leg and other causes of sleep problems and this means they are getting treatment.