Foundation Resources: Kids and RLS

"Growing Pains" - Signs and Symptoms of RLS in Children At the Foundation, we often receive calls from people with restless ...

"Growing Pains" - Signs and Symptoms of RLS in Children

At the Foundation, we often receive calls from people with restless legs syndrome who first identified their symptoms as young children. Many of them say their children and grandchildren are also plagued with this devastating disease.

An estimated 1.5 million children and adolescents in the United States are afflicted by RLS, yet many are not diagnosed until adulthood (if at all), their symptoms being attributed to "growing pains." In fact, roughly 35 percent of RLS sufferers report experiencing symptoms prior to the age of 20. One in ten report RLS during the first decade of life.*

It wasn't until 2007 that groundbreaking research partially funded by the RLS Foundation confirmed what so many had been wondering - RLS runs in families. Dr. David Rye confirmed this genetic component by discovering the first gene variant that contributed substantially to the risk for RLS. Today, PubMed lists over 40 articles discussing genetic risk factors for RLS.

Unfortunately, RLS is still not widely recognized. Oftentimes, these children are misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), labeled as the “problem child” in the classroom or otherwise wrongly punished for a disease that is misunderstood.

Children are among the most vulnerable in society, and those with RLS need a support system that caters to their needs. The Foundation has resources available on our website for both kids and their parents, including the brand new children's booklet, The Adventures of Patty Pillow. This publication, geared towards children between the ages of 7 and 12, teaches kids how to cope with RLS, while not taking away from who they are and what they love.

Additionally, the Foundation has just released its newest publication, the Children & RLS brochure. This brochure provides critical information to healthcare providers concerning the treatment of RLS in kids, and has experts weigh in on RLS and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder in children and adolescents. This and other publications can be access in the Members Only section of our website.

For more information about RLS and your child, call 512-366-9109 or email us. You are not alone!

*Walters AS, Hickey K, Maltzman J et al. A questionnaire study of 138 patients with restless legs syndrome: the ‘Night-Walkers’ survey. Neurology 1996;46:92-5.

*Montplaisir J, Boucher S, Poirier G, Lavigne G, Lapierre O, Lesperance P. Clinical, polysomnographic, and genetic characteristics of restless legs syndrome: a study of 133 patients diagnosed with new standard criteria. Mov Disord 1997;12:61-5.

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