By Robert Meny, MD, pediatrician and diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine
Is your child sleepy, irritable, and/or hyperactive? Does he complain of growing pains and have difficulty sitting still? He or she could be suffering from periodic limb movements syndrome (PLMS), a sleep disorder once thought to affect adults only. PLMS is characterized by leg movements that occur in a rhythmic pattern during sleep. PLMS causes sleep to be disrupted and can lead to daytime sleepiness.
We now know PLMS affects children and can interfere with their going to sleep and staying asleep through the night. The lack of sleep often can make them irritable, and/or hyperactive during the day.
PLMS is more likely to occur in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD affects 5 percent of American children. A recent study of 42 children with PLMS showed that nearly half also had ADHD.
It's believed that low levels of the brain chemical dopamine cause the leg movements. Iron is essential to the formation of dopamine and children with PLMS are likely to have relatively low serum and iron levels.
The good news is that PLMS is treatable. A sleep study is required to determine whether your child is suffering from PLMS and, if so, it can help determine the treatment that is safest and most effective.
The Sleep Center at MedStar Franklin Square provides the necessary comprehensive sleep evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis of both children and adults. For more information about the studies available for both childhood and adult sleep disorders, please call 443-777-8382.
To schedule an appointment, please call 443-777-8382.
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237