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
- Restless legs syndrome. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Tarsy D. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of restless leg syndrome in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Tarsy D. Treatment of restless leg syndrome in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Garcia-Borreguero D, et al. The long-term treatment of restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease: Evidence-based guidelines and clinical consensus best practice guidance: A report from the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group. Sleep Medicine. 2013;14:675.
- Silber, MH, et al. Willis-Ekbom Foundation revised consensus statement on the management of restless legs syndrome. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2013;88:977.