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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Restless Legs Syndrome? Panic Attack?

 CrazyDaisyLou - Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:18 am

I have a friend that says when she goes to bed at night she has trouble lying still, she is all over the bed. She also said that she really doesn't feel anything in her legs while this is happening, and after about a half hour or so she has trouble breathing and she has to stand up and bend over to get her breath back. She has talked to her doctor, but she said he said he never heard of anything like that and she just needs to take a vitamin.

I was wondering if maybe this sounded like a panic attack or maybe RLS? I was hoping you could give me an idea of what it sounds like so when she goes to her doctor again she can give him an idea of something that she can be checked for. The only reason I was thinking of a panic attack was because of the trouble breathing.

Thanks. Daisy
 Kimberley C, RN - Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:48 am

Hello DaisyLou:
RLS can certainly be difficult to diagnose because of the challenge to the patient in trying to depict their symptoms. RLS usually presents with paresthesia (a sensation of numbness/prickling) and dysesthesia (abnormal sensations on the skin.) So, I am a little baffled because you state"she really doesn't feel anything in her legs while this is happening." However, a good starting point for your friend would be to have her doctor either rule out or confirm RLS. I can suggest two requests your friend can make to her doctor to get this process started.
i) There is recent evidence that points to RLS being familial in up to 75% of cases. If it is possible for your friend to question her birth parents related to similar symptoms they may have had, and report this back to her doctor.
ii) I think the vitamins your friend's doctor may be referring to are: iron, folate and magnesium. Often those with RLS are low in these vitamins. Therefore she may want to request a serum ferritin level, (an indicator of low iron,) as well as a magnesium and folate level, these can be obtained through a simple blood test.
To address your friend's shortness of breath, I am not aware of this as a part of RLS. However, anxiety due to what is happening with her legs could possibly be a cause.
I hope this information is helpful in giving your friend some direction to pursue. Let me know how she gets on.

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