RLS and PLMs
Patients are becoming better educated, but there are some days I think all this information or half-information can really cause us headaches in the sleep lab. Take the TV commercials and sound bites about restless legs syndrome. You know the ones with the moth floating around at night or the two-minute talk the expert gives on the 6 p.m. news.
We have to educate (and re-educate) those who come into the lab. The big issue is some people mistake their arousals for RLS. They think the twitch and wake they have during the night is just like what they see on TV. As a result, they may have missed an excellent opportunity to discuss the real issue with their doctor and come into our office with a preconceived idea of what's wrong with them. I have even had some patients get upset because we didn't see the RLS and they couldn't get a pill. Instead, they have to wear that mask thingy.
It's a hard situation to be in. I'm trying to schedule the second sleep study, and they're arguing that I messed up and all they need is a pill. That's when I send them to their ordering doctor for follow-up. About half these people return for their second study. (Probably a good 10 percent think we're quacks just trying to rip them off.)
I believe if there was better education many of these people would be more open-minded to care. It's tough to challenge the information age, still care for your patients, and keep from going crazy.