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CHEST: Disparities Seen in Restless Legs Syndrome

Prevalence is higher in non-African-Americans -- especially women -- than in African-Americans

TUESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Caucasian women are disproportionately affected by restless legs syndrome, according to research presented this week at the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5 in San Diego.

Ammar Alkhazna, M.D., of the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and colleagues studied 190 patients seen at a primary clinic, including 103 African-Americans and 87 non-African-Americans, most of whom were Caucasian.

The researchers found that restless legs syndrome prevalence was three times higher among non-African-Americans than in African-Americans (36 versus 12 percent). They also found that the prevalence was nearly four times higher among non-African-American women than in African-American women (40 versus 12 percent), and more than twice as high among non-African-American men as in African-American men (29 percent versus 12 percent).

"We believe our study results reflect at least our clinic's patient population. Because our patient population is multiracial and quite diverse, we expect our results would be similar in other large, urban centers with similar pools of patients," Alkhanza said in a statement. "However, as many diseases and medications can lead to the development of restless legs syndrome, there will likely be a difference between populations attending medical clinics as opposed to those who are well and healthy."

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