PURPOSE: Pilot study to identify racial differences of reported RLS among patients referred to four sleep laboratories within a large Midwest health system. Restless Leg Syndrome has been reported in 0.1% to 15% among different ethnic populations (1-6). Data from four studies regarding RLS treatment showed 98.6% of 931 patients were Caucasian (7-10). The lower number of African Americans seeking treatment for RLS has been assumed to be secondary to a reduced incidence of the syndrome in the African American population. Recently, Lee HB et al reported no significant difference in prevalence between Caucasian and African Americans (11).
METHODS: Of the 675 patients referred to 4 laboratories between 1/1/2006 and 4/13/2006, 635 completed sleep questionnaires which included race and RLS symptoms. We retrospectively analyzed these charts.
RESULTS: 73 patients (11%) defined their race as African-American (mean age 48: 37F 36M) and 566 Caucasian (84%) (mean age 53: 233F 333M). 49% of African Americans and 54% of Caucasian patients reported RLS symptoms. Using Chi-Square for analysis, the 5% difference is not significant.
CONCLUSION: This study does not demonstrate differences in self reported RLS symptoms between the two groups. The number of African-Americans in the group was small and the patient population was composed of persons referred for sleep disturbances limiting the ability to generalize these findings to the general population.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This study justifies the need for a larger population based study to determine if differences in RLS symptoms or severity exist in the African-American population or if published studies on treatment populations reflect reduced access to sleep health care.
DISCLOSURE: James Ladesich, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information