Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Friday, 11 June 2010 12:18 UK

Health Check: Restless legs

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Some people liken having Restless Leg Syndrome to having fizzy drinks running through their veins, or having 'itching bones'

Getting enough sleep is something most of us take for granted.

But for some families the ability to have a good night's rest could lie in their genes. A neurological condition called Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, affects millions of people around the world. It's more common in women than men and researchers have now identified a genetic link.

The condition - which gets worse at rest and at night - has meant that Beverley Finn hasn't had a good night's sleep in 46 years.

She comes from a family of 6 sisters - all of whom are affected by RLS to a degree. Although RLS mostly affects the limbs, in Beverley's case it's her stomach. She has to get up and walk about to relieve her pain.

RLS usually occurs on its own, but it can occasionally be caused by a physical illness, such as iron and vitamin deficiencies, diabetes or kidney problems.

It can also happen in pregnancy. Some people liken their RLS to having fizzy drinks running through their veins, or having 'itching bones'.

Dr Adrian Williams, who's a Consultant in Sleep at St Thomas' hospital in London, says that understanding which genes are involved could point towards future therapies.



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