Difference between PLMD and RLS

PLMD is known as Periodic limb movement disorder and RLS is known as Restless Leg Syndrome are sleep disorders that both appear to be the same thing conditions are characterized by a sleeper not being able to keep still. However, these two sleep disorders are distinctly different. Diagnosing which condition a patient might be suffering from is important is to determine what the best course of treatment might be. 

Difference between PLMD and RLS


What is PLMD?

PLMD is the condition in which the legs twitch every 20 to 40 seconds while a person in sleep is an involuntary action that the person is not aware of. 

What is RLS?

RLS is the condition in which the patient has an urge to move the legs or arms, which often happens when they are sitting or trying to get sleep. It is a nervous system disorder that is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. 

Let us have a deep insight into the difference between PLMD and RLS. 

Difference between PLMD and RLS : 

  • PLMD entails an involuntary contraction of the skeletal muscles, whereas RLS entails a voluntary contraction of skeletal muscles. 
  • PLMD is diagnosed by noting physical symptoms and by performing a sleep study in which muscle contractions are recorded while RLS is diagnosed by noting physical symptoms. 
  • PLMD symptoms are repeated muscle twitches and RLS symptoms are difficulty in falling asleep, unpleasant creeping, or crawling sensation in the legs. 
  • PLMD is more common in people who snore, are under stress, use hypnotics and working in night shifts whereas RLS is more common in people who are obese, smoke and drink heavily, are elderly, have high blood pressure, and are on SSRIs. 
  • Diagnose of RLS clinically, but if PLMD is suspected consider polysomnography. 

The similarity between PLMD and RLS : 

  • Both PLMD and RLS leads to fatigue and sleepiness.
  • Both seem to involve a problem with the dopamine system in the brain and can be affected by the iron level in the body.