Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor will take your medical history and ask for a description of your symptoms. A diagnosis of RLS/WED is based on the following criteria, established by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group:

  • You have a strong, often irresistible urge to move your legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations typically described as crawling, creeping, cramping, tingling or pulling.
  • Your symptoms start or get worse when you're resting, such as sitting or lying down.
  • Your symptoms are partially or temporarily relieved by activity, such as walking or stretching.
  • Your symptoms are worse at night.
  • Symptoms can't be explained solely by another medical or behavioral condition.

Your doctor may conduct a physical and a neurological exam. Blood tests, particularly for iron deficiency, may be ordered to exclude other possible causes for your symptoms.

In addition, your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist. This may involve an overnight stay at a sleep clinic, where doctors can study your sleep if another sleep disorder such as sleep apnea is suspected. However, a diagnosis of RLS/WED usually doesn't require a sleep study.

Dec. 10, 2014

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