A Prevalent Sleep Disorder in Older Adults: Restless Legs Syndrome (Is There Any Association with Other Geriatric Syndromes?)

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Özkök S., Aydın Ç. Ö., Erbaş Saçar D., Çatıkkaş N. M., Erdoğan T., Kılıç C., ...More

European Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology, vol.0, no.0, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


Objective: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common sleep disorder which affects quality of life in older individuals. We aimed to find out the geriatric syndromes and other factors significantly associated with RLS in an older study population.

Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study conducted with the participants ≥60 years old who admitted to the geriatric outpatient clinic of a tertiary hospital. The essential clinical features of RLS had to be present for diagnosis of RLS. We assessed geriatric syndromes like sleep disturbance, falls, polypharmacy (≥5 medications/day), constipation, chronic pain, cognitive impairment, depression, dysphagia, urinary and fecal incontinence, malnutrition, sarcopenia, frailty, dependency in basic and instrumental activities of daily living and reduced quality of life.

Results: There was a female predominance (67.7%) in the overall study group (n=492). Median age was 73 (69-78). RLS was seen in 28.5% and it was significantly higher in female participants (p=0.03). Sleep disturbance, depressive mood, fear of falling, reduced quality of life, frailty and polypharmacy were significantly more prevalent in the RLS group (p<0.001, 0.001, 0.04, 0.004, 0.01 and 0.02, respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that the only factor independently associated with RLS was age [odds ratio (95% confidence interval) =0.9 (0.87-0.96); p<0.001].

Conclusion: Although depression, fear of falling, frailty, polypharmacy, sleep disturbance and reduced quality of life were more prevalent in the RLS group, none of them were independently associated with RLS. Advanced age in the older population might be protective for RLS.