Symptoms A-Z

Restless Legs Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your restless legs symptoms, including 4 causes & common questions.

This symptom can also be referred to as: constant need to move the legs

An image depicting a person suffering from restless legs symptoms

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  1. 4 Possible Restless Legs Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

4 Possible Restless Legs Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced restless legs. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Restless legs syndrome (rls)

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a chronic condition characterized by uncomfortable sensations while lying down and a strong urge to move the legs. Leg movement relieves the unpleasant sensations temporarily, often resulting in poor quality sleep. RLS is common, affecting up to one in 10 people in the U.S..

Symptoms primarily include an uncontrollable urge to move the legs and sometimes the arms while at rest. The sensations experienced can be described in a variety of ways, but are mainly uncomfortable.

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your RLS and will likely continue for the rest of your life. Certain lifestyle adjustments, medications, and supplements may help to alleviate symptoms.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: daytime sleepiness, trouble sleeping, tingling lower leg, restless legs, difficulty falling asleep

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough iron to form hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

The condition can be caused by acute blood loss through injury, surgery, or childbirth;chronic blood loss through an ulcer, overuse of aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or heavy menstrual periods; or impaired absorption of dietary iron due to low dietary iron intake, prior surgeries, disease, or interference from certain medications.

Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, shortness of breath, and a rapid heartbeat. If not treated, iron deficiency anemia can lead to heart disease because the heart has to increase its pumping activity in order to compensate for the reduced oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells. In children, iron deficiency is also associated with developmental problems. The diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia is made through physical examination and blood tests.

Treatment includes a diet rich in iron-containing foods, such as red meat and leafy green vegetables, along with iron supplements. In some circumstances, hospitalization, blood transfusions, and/or intravenous iron therapy may be needed.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, heavy menstrual flow

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Periodic limb movement disorder

Periodic limb movement disorder is a sleep disease that causes random limb movements during sleep. There is no known cause.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, trouble sleeping, daytime sleepiness, restless legs

Symptoms that always occur with periodic limb movement disorder: trouble sleeping

Symptoms that never occur with periodic limb movement disorder: spontaneous loss of muscle control, sleep paralysis

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by longstanding or poorly controlled diabetes mellitus (DM). Other risk factors for developing diabetic neuropathy include obesity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, and abnormal lipid levels.

Diabetic neuropathy can present as a number of distinct syndromes, including distal symmetric polyneuropathy, autonomic polyneuropathy, cranial neuropathy, or truncal neuropathy. Symptoms may include loss of sensation, weakness, pain, cardiovascular abnormalities, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, retention of urine, and/or double vision.

The diagnosis is initially made by clinical examination. Treatment includes controlling blood sugar, medications to relieve pain, and regular foot care.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: anxiety, depressed mood, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, fatigue

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Restless Legs

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Does anyone in your family suffer from restless legs or Willis-Ekbom disease?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease?
  • What is your body mass?
  • Do you have trouble sleeping?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having restless legs

Restless Legs Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced restless legs have also experienced:

  • 6% Trouble Sleeping
  • 5% Fatigue
  • 4% Anxiety

People who have experienced restless legs were most often matched with:

  • 33% Restless Legs Syndrome (Rls)
  • 33% Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • 33% Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Restless Legs Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having restless legs