PURPOSE: Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder characterized by unpleasant leg sensations and an uncontrollable urge to move the legs that affects sleep, cognition, and quality of life. RLS can be definitively diagnosed by a formal sleep study, but a diagnosis of presumptive RLS can be made based on the presence of certain symptoms on a questionnaire. The prevalence of RLS in the general population is estimated at 7-9%, but those studies did not specifically examine its prevalence in African Americans. As a result, the prevalence of RLS in African Americans is thought to be low. Using a validated questionnaire, we attempted to establish the prevalence of RLS for African Americans in an academic general medicine teaching clinic compared to the prevalence of RLS in the Caucasian population.
METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study using a validated screening questionnaire and classified patients as having presumptive RLS based on criteria provided by the International RLS Study Group. A logistic regression model was used to calculate the confidence interval, p value, and adjusted odds ratio.
RESULTS: Seventy-one patients were screened. The ages ranged from 22 to 87. The prevalence of presumptive RLS was 10.3 % in the Caucasian population and 16.6 % in the African American population, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (p value of 0.4).
CONCLUSION: In this group of 71 patients, we demonstrated a prevalence of presumptive RLS of 14% which is higher than demonstrated in other studies. We could not detect a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of presumptive RLS between African Americans and Caucasians. This may have been due to our small sample size or it may indicate that there is no racial difference in the prevalence of RLS.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Our study suggests that the prevalence of RLS may be higher than previously suggested. While we detected a trend towards increased prevalence of presumptive RLS in African Americans, these results will need to be validated by larger studies.
DISCLOSURE: Meshann Fitzgerald, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information