Are serum ferritin and transferrin saturation risk markers for restless legs syndrome in young adults? Longitudinal and cross-sectional data from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study

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Abstract

Restless legs syndrome has been associated with serum iron deficiency in clinical studies. However, studies investigating this relationship have had inconsistent results and there are no studies in young adults. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between serum measures of iron stores and restless legs syndrome in young adults in the community. Participants in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study answered questions on restless legs syndrome (n = 1,100, 54% female) at age 22 years, and provided serum measures of iron stores (ferritin and transferrin saturation) at ages 17 and 22 years. Restless legs syndrome was diagnosed when four International RLS Study Group criteria were met (urge to move, dysaesthesia, relief by movement, worsening during evening/night) and these symptoms occurred ≥5 times per month. Logistic regression was used to assess associations between serum iron stores and restless legs syndrome, adjusting for potential confounders. The prevalence of restless legs syndrome at age 22 years was 3.0% (n = 33, 70% female). Among those who provided restless legs syndrome and iron data at age 22 years (n = 865), the median (interquartile range) ferritin was not different between the restless legs syndrome (55 [29.5–103.5] μg L−1) and the non-restless legs syndrome group (65.0 [35.0–103.3] μg L−1, p = 0.2), nor were there differences in iron deficiency prevalence (p = 0.36). There was no association between restless legs syndrome (22 years) and iron stores (17, 22 years) before or after adjustment for potential confounders. There was no association between restless legs syndrome at 22 years and iron stores at 17 or 22 years in this cohort. Serum iron stores may not be a useful indicator of restless legs syndrome risk in young adults in the community.

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