i-centric trial in Europe and the US, published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine 2004, found 23,000 people suffering from RLS, indicating the large number of people who go undiagnosed for their problem.
In the US and Europe, studies have indicated that almost 10 percent of the population suffer from this problem. But in India no proper estimates have been made.
A study by the US-based NATIONAL CENTER ON SLEEP DISORDERS RESEARCH (NCSDR) however states: "A lower prevalence of the condition has been found in India, Japan and Singapore, indicating that racial or ethnic factors are associated with RLS.
"Iron deficiency and folic acid deficiency, both of which are highly prevalent in India, can lead to this problem," said Sharma, who is researching on the link between RLS and sleep apnea (severe snoring problem).
The problem could be genetic for patients aged below 40 years.
"But for those over 40 years of age with no genetic link, it could be due to underlying causes like iron and folic acid deficiency, particularly during pregnancy, diabetes or due to medications," said Sharma.
"Non-ergotamine dopamine agonist has been found very effective in 80 percent of RLS cases. Benzodiazines and other options are also available."
Sharma's advice for relief is to improve sleep schedule and reduce the intake of alcohol and tobacco, besides medication. A cold compress and massage of the affected parts can also help ease the painful sensation.
For those seeking help, the US-based Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation offers online advice.
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