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Sleep. 1998 Jun 15;21(4):371-7.

Iron and the restless legs syndrome.

Author information

1
Johns Hopkins University Dept. of Psychology, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

Using blinded procedures, determine the relation between serum ferritin levels and severity of subjective and objective symptoms of the restless legs syndrome (RLS) for a representative patient sample covering the entire adult age range.

DESIGN:

All patient records from the past 4 years were retrospectively reviewed to obtain data from all cases with RLS. All patients were included who had ferritin levels obtained at about the same time as a polysomnogram (PSG), met diagnostic criteria for RLS, and were not on iron or medications that would reduce the RLS symptoms at the time of the PSG.

SETTING:

Sleep Disorders Center.

PATIENTS:

27 (18 females, 9 males), aged 29-81 years.

INTERVENTIONS:

None.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:

Measurements included clinical ratings of RLS severity and PSG measures of sleep efficiency and periodic limb movements (PLMS) in sleep with and without arousal. Lower ferritin correlated significantly to greater RLS severity and decreased sleep efficiency. All but one patient with severe RLS had ferritin levels < or = 50 mcg/l. Patients with lower ferritin (< or = 50 mcg/l) also showed significantly more PLMS with arousal than did those with higher ferritin, but the PLMS/hour was not significantly related to ferritin. This last finding may be due to inclusion of two 'outliers' or because of severely disturbed sleep of the more severe RLS patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data are consistent with those from a prior unblinded study and suggest that RLS patients will have fewer symptoms if they have ferritin levels greater than 50 mcg/l.

PMID:
9646381
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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