More Information

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PLMS Overview

Symptoms & Diagnosis: Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome

Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms that patients with PLMS may exhibit. The list below describes some of the symptoms that are common amongst patients with PLMS. For more information on the individual symptoms, please visit one of the websites listed on the left-hand side of the page.

  • Body makes unusual, repetitive movements while asleep
  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Never feel well-rested (even after a full night's sleep)
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability

Diagnosis

There are currently only a limited number of methods available for diagnosing PLMS. The primary method consists of the patient taking a polysomnogram in order to monitor whether they experience the muscle movements that PLMS patients experience. Doctors also have the option of checking for certain other medical conditions and sleep disorders that are thought to contribute to the chances of a person having PLMS.

Polysomnogram

A polysomnogram, or PSG, is useful for diagnosing patients with PLMS. A PSG requires an overnight stay at a sleep center where the patient to go to sleep as they normally would, except sensors will be all over the body. These sensors will record muscle activity during sleep. They can use this information to determine whether certain muscles were being stimulated or moving during sleep in order to tell whether or not they have PLMS.

Medical Histories

The medical history can help in determining whether PLMS is present.  By asking questions such as whether the patient frequently feels fatigued during the day can help determine whether or not their sleep is being disturbed by PLMS. In addition, it is more common for people with certain other sleep disorders such as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), or narcolepsy, to have PLMS. By checking the medical history, the physician can determine if the patient has any existing sleep disorders that could potentially attribute to PLMS.

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