Unique educational website ‘Under the Covers of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)’ is launched on World Sleep Day
For medical media, outside the US only
Ingelheim/Germany, 20 March 2009 – The website Under the Covers of RLS (www.rlsunderthecovers.com) brings together leading medical experts in the field of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) who have undertaken to explain key facts and symptoms of this condition, which affects people`s sleep pattern, their ability to perform tasks which require longer periods of immobility, and negatively impacts patients` quality of life. This educational tool, consisting of contributions from renowned RLS experts dedicated to research and treatment of this neurological disorder and contributions of patients affected by the condition, is the result of a joint initiative between Boehringer Ingelheim and the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM). The website is launched today on World Sleep Day and will hopefully help to improve recognition of this serious condition which is one of the most common causes of sleep disturbance.1
“Nobody knows how bad it is. You cannot explain this horrible feeling in your legs that makes you move constantly.” says RLS patient Sue, featured on the website, who tries to articulate the condition that affects up to one in 10 of the adult population (aged between 30 and 79).2 Like Sue, up to one-third of those affected experience symptoms at least twice every week, causing moderate to severe distress.3 RLS is characterised by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and often painful sensations in the legs.4,5 These symptoms are usually worse when at rest or during the evening or night, which makes it difficult for those with RLS symptoms to fall asleep and stay asleep.3,6 In fact, those with moderate to severe RLS may sleep less than five hours per night.6 This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and compromise work/daytime performance.3
“I have conducted medical research in the field of RLS for over 30 years, but still encounter many misconceptions about the condition. Among neurologists and people living with RLS, there is no doubt that, in its moderate to severe form, the symptoms have a serious impact on quality of life. The condition warrants appropriate medical attention just as would any other neurological condition”, commented Professor Richard P. Allen, Secretary of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) and Committee Member of World Sleep Day 2009, “The joint collaboration between WASM as a scientific society, international medical experts and the pharmaceutical industry has provided an excellent opportunity to share a wealth of knowledge with those in search of accurate information on RLS via a comprehensive and creative website. WASM is very pleased with this initiative and we hope it will help to clarify misconceptions that can often delay or hinder correct diagnosis and help people to better understand how serious RLS can befor those affected.”
The website Under the Covers of RLS (www.rlsunderthecovers.com) offers the viewer key insights into:
Notes to Editor
About Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterised by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, usually accompanied by unpleasant and sometimes painful sensations in the legs. Restless Legs Syndrome affects up to ten percent of the population worldwide aged between 30 and 79 years2 and around one-third of sufferers experience symptoms more than twice weekly causing moderate to severe distress.5 The motor-restlessness worsens during the evening and night causing difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep. The sleep disruption can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and compromise work performance. Restless Legs Syndrome also has considerable impact on social activities that require immobility.
About World Sleep Day
The World Sleep Day, an annual event which was put on the health agenda by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) in 2008, is intended to be a call to action on many fronts related to sleep including education, social issues and driving. The World Sleep Day Committee declare that “disorders of sleep are preventable and treatable medical conditions in every country of the world”. The event is sponsored by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) and many local groups indifferent countries throughout the world.
World Sleep Day 2009 takes place on Friday, 20 March 2009.
About the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM)
The World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) is an international organisation comprised of healthcare professionals primarily active in the field of sleep medicine. Its goal is to advance knowledge about sleep and sleep disorders among healthcare personnel and among the public worldwide and the Association was founded to improve sleep health worldwide and to encourage prevention and treatment of sleep disorders.
WASM is working towards increasing worldwide awareness of the importance of sleep and the adverse consequences resulting from lack of sleep, due either to enforced lifestyle or to sleep disorders themselves. The Association aims to act as a link between various sleep associations and cultures, i.e. as an international nexus among sleep clinicians and researchers in the advancement of worldwide sleep health. A special goal of the Association is to foster dissemination of expertise in sleep medicine everywhere in the world.
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1 Allen RP et al. Restless Legs Syndrome: a review of clinical and pathophysiologic features. J Clin Neurophysiol 2001; 18(2): 128–147.
2 Phillips B et al. Epidemiology of Restless Legs Symptoms in adults. Arch Intern Med 2000; 160(14): 2137–2141.
3 Hening W et al. Impact, diagnosis and treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome in a primary care population: REST (RLS epidemiology, symptoms and treatment) primary care study. Sleep Med 2004; 5(3): 237–246.
4 Allen RP et al. Restless Legs Syndrome prevalence and impact: REST general population study. Arch Intern Med 2005; 165(11): 1286-1292.
5 Silber MH et al. An algorithm for the management of Restless Legs Syndrome. Mayo Clin Proc 2004; 79(7): 916–922.
6 Allen RP et al. Restless Legs Syndrome: diagnostic criteria, special considerations, and epidemiology – A report from the Restless Legs Syndrome diagnosis and epidemiology workshop at the National Institutes of Health. Sleep Med 2003; 4(2): 101–119.