Restlessness and a compulsive need to shake legs while sitting or lying down is a treatable health problem, but the Indian medical fraternity is not aware of it.//
The condition, called Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), makes it difficult for patients to sit down comfortably during air travel, long drives or even while watching a movie, say experts.
Not many people in India are aware about RLS, which is accompanied in many cases by a tingling and painful sensation in the limb.
"In India there is hardly any awareness about the syndrome among physicians, let alone the common people," said J.C. Suri, senior chest physician and head of the sleep disorder department at the Safdarjung Hospital here.
"People may not be aware that the problem can be treated after proper evaluation and diagnosis," Suri told IANS.
Most cases diagnosed by Suri were on the basis of symptoms with not even the patients or their earlier physicians recognising the problem.
"Many of the people had come to us after consultations with neurologists and other specialists. RLS is generally secondary to other problems. It is not very common as an isolated problem," said Suri.
A common indication of the problem is periodic leg movement and restlessness even during sleep. In around 70 percent of the patients, there could be muscle twitching too.
Considered to be a form of sleep disorder, RLS can have significant physical and emotional effect on sufferers, many of whom tend to get more restless towards the evening and are unable to sleep properly.
"RLS is a real medical condition like diabetes, depression or high blood pressure," said Sunil Sharma, Indian-origin director, Sleep Medicine Research, University of South Carolina.
"The symptoms may interfere with their sleep and as a result they may feel sleepy during the day, too tired to participate in their daily activities."
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