News Flash > Women's Health


White Women More at Risk for Restless Legs

Reported November 04, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Caucasian women may suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS) up to four-times more than African-American women, new research shows.

RLS is a sleeping disorder where a person has strong urge to move the legs. Two out of five Caucasian women have RLS -- almost four times more than African American women. Within a sample of 190 patients seen at a primary clinic, researchers found 40 percent of Caucasian women were diagnosed with the condition, compared with 12 percent of African American women.

"There are significant ethnic differences in the prevalence of restless legs syndrome, but the exact causes of higher prevalence among Caucasians are unknown," Ammar Alkhazna, M.D., of the University of Missouri in Kansa City, Mo., was quoted as saying. "This likely reflects a combination of factors, including a genetic predisposition to RLS, diet -- including iron intake -- medications, and possibly culture."



Kalpalathat Guntupalli, M.D., FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians, says RLS is a common sleep disorder but that it often goes undiagnosed. "Educating clinicians and patients about the signs and symptoms of RLS may raise awareness about this overlooked condition and lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment," Guntupalli concludes.

SOURCE: CHEST 2009, 75th Annual International Scientific Assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), October 31-November 5, San Diego, CA