When gender matters: Restless legs syndrome. Report of the "RLS and woman" workshop endorsed by the European RLS Study Group
ABSTRACT Sleep is an essential human behavior that shows prominent gender differences. Disturbed sleep, in particular, is much more prevalent in females than males. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) as one cause of disturbed sleep was observed to be somewhat more common among women than men in Ekbom's 1945 seminal series of clinical cases with the disease. He, however, reported this gender difference mainly for those with more severe symptoms. Since then numerous studies have reported that women are affected by RLS about twice as often as males for mild as well as moderate to severe RLS. The present review focuses on RLS in females from the perspectives of both epidemiology and pathophysiology. RLS will generally become worse or might appear for the first time during pregnancy. Parity increases the risk of RLS later in life suggesting that pregnancy is a specific behavioral risk factor for developing RLS. Some evidence suggests that dysfunction in iron metabolism and high estrogen levels might contribute to RLS during pregnancy. But, menopause does not lower the incidence of RLS nor does hormone replacement therapy lead to an increase, suggesting a quite complex uncertain role of hormones in the pathophysiology of RLS. Therefore, further, preferably longitudinal studies are needed to unravel the factors causing RLS in women. These studies should include genetic, clinical and polysomnographic variables, as well as hormonal measures and variables assessing iron metabolism.
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ABSTRACT: Sleep disorders affect women differently than they affect men and may have different manifestations and prevalences. With regard to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), variations in symptoms may cause misdiagnoses and delay of appropriate treatment. The prevalence of OSA appears to increase markedly after the time of menopause. Although OSA as defined by the numbers of apneas/hypopneas may be less severe in women, its consequences are similar and perhaps worse. Therapeutic issues related to gender should be factored into the management of OSA. The prevalence of insomnia is significantly greater in women than in men throughout most of the life span. The ratio of insomnia in women to men is approximately 1.4:1.0, but the difference is minimal before puberty and increases steadily with age. Although much of the higher prevalence of insomnia in women may be attributable to the hormonal or psychological changes associated with major life transitions, some of the gender differences may result from the higher prevalence of depression and pain in women. Insomnia's negative impact on quality of life is important to address in women, given the high relative prevalence of insomnia as well as the comorbid disorders in this population. Gender differences in etiology and symptom manifestation in narcolepsy remain understudied in humans. There is little available scientific information to evaluate the clinical significance and specific consequences of the diagnosis of narcolepsy in women. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an urge to move the legs or other limbs during periods of rest or inactivity and may affect as much as 10% of the population. This condition is more likely to afflict women than men, and its risk is increased by pregnancy. Although RLS is associated with impaired quality of life, highly effective treatment is available.Journal of Women's Health 10/2008; 17(7):1191-9. DOI:10.1089/jwh.2007.0561 · 1.90 Impact Factor
Article: Sleep-related movement disorders[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Several movement disorders may occur during nocturnal rest disrupting sleep. A part of these complaints is characterized by relatively simple, non-purposeful and usually stereotyped movements. The last version of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders includes these clinical conditions (i.e. restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, sleep-related leg cramps, sleep-related bruxism and sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder) under the category entitled sleep-related movement disorders. Moreover, apparently physiological movements (e.g. alternating leg muscle activation and excessive hypnic fragmentary myoclonus) can show a high frequency and severity impairing sleep quality. Clinical and, in specific cases, neurophysiological assessments are required to detect the presence of nocturnal movement complaints. Patients reporting poor sleep due to these abnormal movements should undergo non-pharmacological or pharmacological treatments.Neurological Sciences 12/2011; 33(3):491-513. DOI:10.1007/s10072-011-0905-9 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is more common during pregnancy than in the general population, occurring at a 2-3 times higher prevalence. While iron, genetics, and central nervous system dopamine have been shown to play major roles in RLS unrelated to pregnancy, the etiology and treatment of RLS during pregnancy have not been adequately delineated. We describe a novel approach where a 23-year-old female was given intravenous iron prior to pregnancy, with complete remission of RLS symptoms until five months postpartum. Factors other than iron status that may have influenced the course of remission and relapse were oral contraceptive use, antidepressant use, and a strong family history of RLS. CITATION: Picchietti DL; Wang VC; Picchietti MA. Intravenous iron given prior to pregnancy for restless legs syndrome is associated with remission of symptoms. J Clin Sleep Med 2012;8(5):585-586.Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 01/2012; 8(5):585-6. DOI:10.5664/jcsm.2168 · 2.83 Impact Factor