What are the different types of restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) can be either primary or secondary, and the causes vary.

Primary RLS is a neurological disorder. Although the majority of people with RLS begin to experience symptoms in their middle years, some may have signs of the problem in childhood. Their symptoms may slowly progress for years before becoming a regular occurrence.

Secondary RLS tends to be more severe than the primary type and stems from another underlying condition, including the following:
  • Anemia or low blood-iron levels
  • Folate deficiency
  • Nerve damage due to diabetes or other conditions
  • Kidney disease or dialysis
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Parkinson's disease

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.