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An epidemiologic study of restless legs syndrome among Chinese children and adolescents

Abstract

To determine the prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in Chinese children and adolescents as well as the impact of the disorder on 8–11 and 12–17 years old. This population-based study was conducted in five primary schools and seven high schools, which were randomly selected in Henan province, China. A total of 6792 students aged 8–17 years old were given a questionnaire that included the adult diagnostic criteria of RLS proposed by the International Restless Legs Study Group. Subjects who answered “yes” to all four questions were selected for a face-to-face interview to confirm RLS diagnosis. Individuals with definite RLS were then administered another questionnaire to survey RLS symptoms and perceived consequences. The prevalence of definite RLS in Chinese children and adolescents was 2.2 % (141/6437), with a prevalence of 1.8 % in the 8–11 years old age group and 2.4 % in the 12–17 years old age group. RLS was found to be more prevalent in females (2.7 %) than in males (1.7 %) (P = 0.008), and the prevalence of RLS was determined to increase with age. Sleep disturbance was the most common symptom of RLS in children and adolescents. Various consequences were attributed to RLS, with participants reporting that they dreaded the arrival of evening/night most frequently, followed by the description that RLS had a negative impact on mood. These data suggest that RLS is prevalent in Chinese children and adolescents, and that those affected by this disorder suffer from disruptions to sleep and daytime function.

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Acknowledgments

We thank all the participants and staff who took part in the questionnaire survey. This investigation received financial support from the Natural Science Foundation of China (U1304804) and The Youth Innovation Fund of the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University.

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The authors report no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Rui Xue.

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Xue, R., Liu, G., Ma, S. et al. An epidemiologic study of restless legs syndrome among Chinese children and adolescents. Neurol Sci 36, 971–976 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-015-2206-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-015-2206-1

Keywords

  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Prevalence
  • Chinese