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Sleep Disorders

Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome

Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome (PLMS) is a condition in which the patient repeatedly has periodic limb movements while asleep.

Periodic limbs movements are when an individual has uncontrollable episodes of simple, repetitive muscle movements. These movements do not cause the patient to change position, fully stretch a muscle, or cause a cramp. Instead, these movements cause the muscle to tighten or flex slightly. PLMS typically does not prevent the patient from falling asleep, but can instead disrupt their sleep during the night. In other cases, the symptoms of PLMS are not major enough to cause problems with the patient. Symptoms can be severe enough that they have negative effects on the patient's sleep and daily life. It is with these cases that PLMS is classified as a sleep disorder. The resulting disruption of sleep caused by this disorder can cause depression, bad memory, short attention span, and fatigue in the patient.

The episodes associated with PLMS cause the patient to experience frequent arousals, usually during NREM sleep, where the patient may become partially awake, even though they will be unable to remember awakening. These episodes can typically last anywhere between a few minutes and an hour, and can occur in intervals approximately every 20 to 40 seconds. In some cases the limb movements occur in one leg, but more frequently they affect both legs. In some rare cases, the movements can occur in the patient's arms. Some typical examples of movements are the extending of the big toe, or the slight bending of the ankle, knee or hip.

Epidemiology

Click on the link above to view epidemiologic information related to PLMS. This will include information which relates to the incidence and distribution of PLMS across a population. This will also include information regarding the prevalence of PLMS across a population in relation to specific factors, such as ethnicity, age, gender, etc...

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Click on the link above to view information regarding the diagnosis of PLMS. This will describe the preferential methods used to identify patients who suffer from PLMS.

Treatment

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Co-morbidities

Click on the link above to view information regarding the types of co-morbidities that have been identified in patients suffering from PLMS.

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