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Keywords:

  • Asian;
  • prevalence;
  • restless legs syndrome;
  • Taiwan;
  • urge to move

Aim:  Few studies have examined the prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in Asian populations, with existing data suggesting substantially lower rates of RLS in Asian populations compared with Caucasians. However, varying definitions of RLS as well as problematic methodology make conclusions about RLS prevalence in Asian populations difficult to interpret. The current study therefore examines the prevalence of RLS in Taiwanese adults.

Methods:  Subjects were 4011 Taiwanese residents over the age of 15 years. Data was collected using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system between 25 October 2006 and 6 November 2006.

Results:  The prevalence of RLS in Taiwanese adults was found to be 1.57%. In addition, individuals with RLS had a higher body mass index (BMI) and incidence of chronic conditions and comorbidities including insomnia, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, arthritis, backache and mental illness. Women with RLS also had a higher incidence of post-menopausal syndrome.

Conclusion:  Findings from the current study suggest that the prevalence of RLS in Taiwan is 1.57% by telephone interview. Individuals with RLS had a higher incidence of chronic insomnia and many other chronic disorders. The association and long-term consequences of RLS with these chronic disorders warrants further longitudinal observation and study.