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Periodic Limb Movement Disorder


Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) as the name suggests, contains the rhythmic movements of all or either one of the limbs during sleep. This is a type of sleeping disorder and can keep your limbs specially legs moving all night. They keep on changing in their severity from one night to another. Although the movements occur periodically they can fluctuate in frequency. It is different from normal spasm which we experience before sleeping.

It is very common illness and it can happen all throughout the night keeping you sleep deprived and waking you up many times in the night. Generally people with PLMD are unaware of the movements like in sleep walking. People normally do not know when they are waking up, and when they fall back to sleep.

How long the PLMD lasts?

The PMLD episode lasts from a few minutes to about an hour. During the time, the movements occur in every 20 to 40 seconds. Commonly they affect both legs, but presence of symptoms in 1 leg is also seen.

PMLD most often affects both legs, but sometimes, they affect one leg as well. Since the sleep of the bed partner is affected more often, they are very quick to diagnose in case of people who sleep with bed partners. The main symptom of PMLD is the disruption of the patient’s sleep and the bed partner’s sleep.

What Causes PLMD?

There are no known causes of PLMD. There are few illnesses like Parkinson's disease and narcolepsy where there are many periodic limb movements in sleep, showing some connection with these illnesses. It can also be caused by medications such as antidepressants.

Treatment of PLMD

There are many drugs which are used to treat PMLD. Some of them are anticonvulsant medications, benzodiazepines, and narcotics. Most of these drugs are used in Parkinson’s disease treatment as well. Since there is no known cure for PMLD, only symptomatic relief are given using these drugs.

You need to take professional medical advice in order to get yourself cope up with this disease. It is affecting not only you, but your bed partner as well. So reach out to the professionals for right help.

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