PURPOSE: Up to 25% of patients in the West having Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) have been reported to have iron deficiency. RLS is a hardly studied, probably under-diagnosed condition in India. Its prevalence in India is unknown. The purpose of our study was to find the occurrence of RLS in patients with iron deficiency anemia; to compare it with its occurrence among healthy people; and to find clinical correlates with the occurrence and severity of RLS.
METHODS: Cross-sectional study at St. John’s Medical College Hospital. 64 consecutive adult patients with iron deficiency and 256 age and sex matched healthy participants were enrolled, interviewed and RLS was diagnosed based on the NIH/IRLSSG essential criteria. RLS severity was assessed using the IRLSSG scale. Hemogram was done in all participants and iron profile and Free Erythrocyte Protoporphyrin in all anemic patients.
RESULTS: RLS was present in 6.25% of the healthy participants and 34.37% of anemic patients (p<0.001). Chronic menorrhagia (p=0.008) and repeated blood donations (>4 times) (p=0.004) were significantly associated with increased occurrence of RLS. RLS was associated with significantly delayed onset of sleep (p<0.001); RLS severity correlated with sleep latency in anemic females (p<0.001). RLS severity did not correlate with any hematological parameter indicating severity of iron deficiency.
CONCLUSION: RLS was a common occurrence among healthy participants. RLS occurred at significantly higher rates among anemic patients than healthy participants. RLS severity did not correlate with severity of iron deficiency.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: All anaemic patients should be screened for RLS.
DISCLOSURE: Avinash Srikanth, None.