Race and restless legs syndrome symptoms in an adult community sample in east Baltimore

Hochang B. Lee, Wayne A. Hening, Richard P. Allen, Christopher J. Earley, William W. Eaton, Constantine G. Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Background & purpose: Due to the relative absence of African-Americans seeking treatment for restless legs syndrome (RLS) in specialty clinics, a lower prevalence of RLS among African-Americans than Caucasians has been suggested. We compared the prevalence of RLS in African-Americans and Caucasians in a biracial community sample as part of Wave IV of the Baltimore Health and Mental Health Study. Methods: Subjects included 1071 adults [358 African-Americans (35.0%), and 633 Caucasians (61.8%), and 33 others]. Diagnosis of RLS was based on endorsement of RLS symptoms on a seven-item RLS questionnaire during a household interview. Adjusted odds and 95% confidence intervals were calculated based on logistic regression models with diagnosis of RLS as the main outcome variables and African-American race as the main predictor while adjusting for other relevant sociodemographic and/or health-related variables. Results: The prevalence of RLS in this population was 4.1%. The rates were similar for African-Americans (4.7%) and Caucasians (3.8%). After adjustment for age, gender, medical comorbidities, and socioeconomic status, no difference in the prevalence of RLS was found between African-Americans and Caucasians. Conclusion: RLS is comparably prevalent among African-American and Caucasian adults in the general population. Barriers affecting access to care settings for African-American RLS patients should be investigated in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-645
Number of pages4
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Disparity
  • Ethnicity
  • Prevalence
  • Race
  • Restless legs syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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