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Who Is at Risk for Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) affects about 5–15 percent of Americans. Many people who have RLS have family members with the disorder.

RLS can affect people of any racial or ethnic group, but the disorder is more common in people of Northern European descent. RLS affects both genders, but women are more likely to have it than men.

The number of cases of RLS rises with age. Many people who have RLS are diagnosed in middle age. People who develop RLS early in life tend to have a family history of the disorder.

People who have certain diseases or conditions or who take certain medicines are more likely to develop RLS. (For more information, go to "What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?")

For example, pregnancy is a risk factor for RLS. It usually occurs during the last 3 months of pregnancy. The disorder usually improves or goes away after giving birth. Some women may continue to have symptoms after giving birth. Other women may develop RLS again later in life.

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Restless Legs Syndrome Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Restless Legs Syndrome, visit

November 01, 2010 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.