This study investigates the prevalence and the association between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and a large variety of health variables in two well-characterized random samples from the general population in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Uppsala, Sweden.
Using the national registries of inhabitants, a random sample from adults aged 40 and over living in Reykjavík, Iceland (n=939), and Uppsala, Sweden (n=998), were invited to participate in a study on the prevalence of COPD (response rate 81.1% and 62.2%). In addition, the participants were asked to answer the following questionnaires: International RLS Rating Scale, Short Form-12, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and questions about sleep, gastroeosophageal reflux, diabetes and hypertension, as well as pharmacological treatment. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and ferritin were measured in serum.
RLS was more commonly reported in Reykjavik (18.3%) than in Uppsala (11.5%). Icelandic women reported RLS almost twice as often as Swedish women (24.4 vs. 13.9% p=0.001), but there was no difference in prevalence of RLS between Icelandic and Swedish men. RLS was strongly associated with sleep disturbances and excessive daytime sleepiness. Subjects with RLS were more likely to be ex- and current smokers than subjects without RLS (p<0.001). Respiratory symptoms and airway obstruction were more prevalent among those reporting RLS and they also estimated their physical quality of life lower than those without RLS (p<0.001). RLS was not associated with symptoms of the metabolic syndrome like hypertension, obesity, markers of systemic inflammation (IL-6 and CRP) or cardiovascular diseases. Ferritin levels were significantly lower in RLS participants (p=0.0002), but not (p=0.07) after adjustment for center, age, sex and smoking history.
Restless legs syndrome was twice as common among Icelandic women compared to Swedish women. No such difference was seen for men. RLS was strongly associated with smoking and respiratory symptoms, decreased lung function, sleep disturbances, excessive daytime sleepiness, and physical aspects of life quality. RLS was not associated with markers of the metabolic syndrome like hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular diseases or biomarkers of systemic inflammation.
"There have been 20 previous cross-sectional epidemiologic studies that have looked at the relationship between RLS and hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Of these 20 studies, 15 suggested an increased risk of hypertension, CVD, CAD, cerebrovascular disease, or heart disease in patients with RLS/PLMS [2, 10, 14, 16, 40, 61, 71, 78, 84, 87, 97, 121, 132, 136, 137]. Five cross-sectional epidemiologic studies reported no associated or a reduced risk of hypertension and CVD compared to patients without RLS [30, 55, 101, 141, 142]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Untreated sleep disorders may contribute to secondary causes of uncontrolled hypertension, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and stroke. Restless legs syndrome, or Willis-Ekbom Disease (RLS/WED), is a common sensorimotor disorder with a circadian rhythmicity defined by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs that worsens during periods of inactivity or at rest in the evening, often resulting in sleep disruptions. Sleep disorders such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are established risk factors for increased risk of hypertension and vascular diseases. This literature review outlines the lessons learned from studies demonstrating insomnia and OSA as risk factors for hypertension and vascular diseases to support the epidemiologic and physiologic evidence suggesting a similar increase in hypertension and vascular disease risk due to RLS. Understanding the relationships between RLS and hypertension, CVD, and stroke has important implications for reducing the risks associated with these diseases.
Journal of Neurology 08/2013; 261(6). DOI:10.1007/s00415-013-7065-1 · 3.38 Impact Factor
"In the general population, the prevalence of RLS varies between 5–15%, and there is a clear female predominance with up to a 2 : 1 female ratio [8, 9]. Prevalence is substantially higher in certain populations such as Icelandic women where research shows RLS prevalence of 24.4% . In two large studies, women were clearly found to have twice the likelihood to meet IRLSSG RLS criteria than men [11, 12]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a multisystem disease with a complex immunologic pathophysiology. Likewise, sleep disorders can involve a complicated interplay between the neurologic pathways, immune system, and respiratory system. Recent studies have shown an elevated prevalence of sleep abnormalities in connective tissue disorders compared to the general population. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) may be present in up to 30% of RA patients. These findings may be related to cytokine release and other immunomodulatory responses. TNF- α levels relate to sleep physiology and anti-TNF- α therapy may improve sleep patterns. Most of the patients with this disorder can distinguish their RLS sensations from their arthritic symptoms. RLS is a common comorbidity seen with RA, and prompt recognition and treatment can improve patient quality of life.
"These findings were replicated in a geriatric sample, with poor sleep quality, daytime somnolence, and low social functioning due to impaired tolerance for inactivity . One Scandinavian study showed similar impact on sleep quality, but noted lower SF-12 physical domain scores but not mental domain scores . An analysis of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in RLS patients in multiple sites in Germany suggested that sleep deficits, duration of symptoms, and household income mediated RLS associates with clinical rating scales, with RLS effects consistent with other chronic neurologic diseases . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common condition associated with decreased quality of life in older adults. This study estimates the prevalence, risk factors, and functional correlates of among U.S. elders.
Subjects (n = 1,008) were sub-sampled from the 2002 cross-sectional interview survey of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative study of U.S. elders. Symptoms and sleep disturbances consistent with RLS were identified. Activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and limitations for mobility, large muscle groups, gross and fine motor function were measured using standardized questions. Incident functional limitations were detected over six years of observation.
The prevalence of RLS among U.S. elders born before 1947 was 10.6%. Factors associated with increased prevalence RLS at baseline included: overweight body mass index (multivariate adjusted prevalence ratio = 1.77; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05-2.99); mild-to-moderate pain (2.67, 1.47-4.84) or pain inferring with activity (3.44, 2.00-5.93); three or more chronic medications (2.54, 1.26-5.12), highest quartile of out-of-pocket medical expenses (2.12, 1.17-3.86), frequent falls (2.63, 1.49-4.66), health limiting ability to work (2.91, 1.75-4.85), or problems with early waking or frequent wakening (1.69, 1.09-2.62 and 1.55, 1.00-2.41, respectively). Current alcohol consumption (0.59, 0.37-0.92) and frequent healthcare provider visits (0.49, 0.27-0.90) were associated with decreased RLS prevalence. RLS did not predict incident disability for aggregate measures but was associated with increased risk for specific limitations, including: difficulty climbing several stair flights (multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio = 2.38, 95% CI 1.39-4.06), prolonged sitting (2.17, 1.25-3.75), rising from a chair (2.54, 1.62-3.99), stooping (2.66, 1.71-4.15), moving heavy objects (1.79, 1.08-2.99), carrying ten pounds (1.61, 1.05-2.97), raising arms (1.76, 1.05-2.97), or picking up a dime (1.97, 1.12-3.46).
RLS sufferers are more likely to have functional disability, even after adjusting for health status and pain syndrome correlates.
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