Epidemiology of restless legs syndrome: A synthesis of the literature

Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center, Stanford University, School of Medicine, 3430 West Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA.
Sleep Medicine Reviews (Impact Factor: 9.14). 07/2011; 16(4):283-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2011.05.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Restless legs syndrome (RLS) has gained considerable attention in the recent years: nearly 50 community-based studies have been published in the last decade around the world. The development of strict diagnostic criteria in 1995 and their revision in 2003 helped to stimulate research interest on this syndrome. In community-based surveys, RLS has been studied as: 1) a symptom only, 2) a set of symptoms meeting minimal diagnostic criteria of the international restless legs syndrome study group (IRLSSG), 3) meeting minimal criteria accompanied with a specific frequency and/or severity, and 4) a differential diagnosis. In the first case, prevalence estimates in the general adult population ranged from 9.4% to 15%. In the second case, prevalence ranged from 3.9% to 14.3%. When frequency/severity is added, prevalence ranged from 2.2% to 7.9% and when differential diagnosis is applied prevalence estimates are between 1.9% and 4.6%. In all instances, RLS prevalence is higher in women than in men. It also increases with age in European and North American countries but not in Asian countries. Symptoms of anxiety and depression have been consistently associated with RLS. Overall, individuals with RLS have a poorer health than non-RLS but evidence for specific disease associations is mixed. Future epidemiological studies should focus on systematically adding frequency and severity in the definition of the syndrome in order to minimize the inclusion of cases mimicking RLS.

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Available from: Maurice Moyses Ohayon, Mar 05, 2014
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    • "Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a sensorimotor sleep-related movement disorder manifesting with an urge to move the legs and unpleasant sensation in the lower limbs. The prevalence of RLS in the general population is 5 to 15% [1] [2]. RLS may be primary or secondary, the latter is associated with a number of disorders like diabetes mellitus, renal failure, iron deficiency and peripheral neuropathy , rendering the diagnosis difficult [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aims to evaluate the types of neuropathy in a cohort of restless leg syndrome (RLS) patients and compare them with primary RLS. RLS symptoms can occur in peripheral neuropathy and may cause diagnostic confusion, and there is a paucity of studies comparing neuropathic RLS and primary RLS. Patients with RLS diagnosed according to the international restless legs syndrome study group criteria were categorized as primary RLS or secondary. Those with evidence of peripheral neuropathy were categorized as neuropathic RLS. The demographic, clinical, laboratory profile and therapeutic response to dopamine agonists at 6months and 1year of neuropathic RLS patients were compared between primary and secondary RLS patients. There were 82 patients with RLS of whom 22 had peripheral neuropathy and 28 had primary RLS. The etiology of neuropathic RLS was diabetes mellitus in 13, renal failure in six, hypothyroidism in five, demyelinating in two, nutritional deficiency in three, leprosy in one, and miscellaneous etiologies in four patients. The neuropathic RLS patients were older (46.0±14.1 versus 35.8±15.4years), had shorter duration of illness (1.4±1.4 versus 6.2±6.2years) and were more frequently symptomatic. RLS symptoms were asymmetric in primary RLS patients compared to neuropathic RLS (25% versus 0%). The therapeutic response was similar in both groups. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 06/2015; 22(8). DOI:10.1016/j.jocn.2015.01.032 · 1.32 Impact Factor
    • "An iron insufficient state appears to exist in the brains of RLS patients, probably due to the reduced expression and activity of iron management proteins, including transferrin and its receptor, in the choroid plexus and brain microvasculature in postmortem RLS brains [30]. Periodic leg movements (PLMs) are present in up to 80% of patients with RLS and are characterized by periodic episodes of repetitive and stereotyped limb movements occurring during sleep [31]. Interestingly, AD and RLS shared some risk factors: advanced age, depression, anxiety, smoking, and hypertension. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep disorders are frequently reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD), with a significant impact on patients and caregivers and a major risk factor for early institutionalization. Although changes in sleep organization are a hallmark of the normal aging processes, sleep macro- and micro-architectural alterations are more evident in patients affected by AD. Degeneration of neural pathways regulating sleep-wake patterns and sleep architecture may contribute to sleep alterations. In return, several recent studies suggested that common sleep disorders may precede clinical symptoms of dementia and represent risk factors for cognitive decline, through impairment of sleep-dependent memory consolidation processes. Thus, a close relationship between sleep disorders and AD has been largely hypothesized. Here, sleep alterations in AD and its pre-dementia stage, mild cognitive impairment, and their complex interactions are reviewed.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 04/2015; 46(3). DOI:10.3233/JAD-150138 · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    • "RLS poses a significant impact on health related to quality of life and a considerable economic burden comparable to a chronic disorder [16] [17]. RLS has been positively associated with insomnia, impaired sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness [8]. To date, there is no published data reporting prevalence and association of RLS among Pakistani general population. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a chronic distressing disease characterized by an urge to move the legs with an unpleasantsensation during periods of rest. The global prevalence estimates of RLS range from 2.5% to 15%. Method. This cross-sectional study was conducted at various hospitals in Karachi during August 13 to March 14. The visitors who had accompanied patients to Outpatient Department or had come to visit admitted patients were approached conveniently. Subjects were interviewed regarding the essential criteria of RLS and its attributes. Results. The sample size was 390 with 56% being females. The point prevalence of RLS was estimated to be 23.6%. The prevalence in females was twice as high as compared to males. Smoking and low level of education were associated with RLS (). Among RLS positive individuals, 50.1% reported frequency of their symptoms to be greater than 16 days per month and 64.1% graded their symptom severity as mild to moderate. About 37% of RLS positive individuals consulted a general physician for their symptoms. Conclusion. RLS is highly prevalent and underdiagnosed condition among Pakistani population. Efforts must be directed to raise the awareness of this condition among physicians and general population.
    International Scholarly Research Notices 01/2015; 2015:1-5. DOI:10.1155/2015/762045
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