Using specific pediatric diagnostic criteria, a new study appearing in the August 1 edition of Pediatrics, finds that Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is more prevalent in children and adolescents than epilepsy or diabetes.

The study, “Restless Legs Syndrome: Prevalence and Impact in Children and Adolescents—The Peds REST Study,” was administered via the Internet to families recruited from a large, volunteer research panel in the United Kingdom and United States. National Institutes of Health pediatric RLS diagnostic criteria (2003) were used, and questions were specifically constructed to exclude positional discomfort, leg cramps, arthralgias, and sore muscles being counted as restless legs syndrome. Results were stratified by age and gender.
According to data collected from 10,523 families, 1.9% of 8- to 11-year-olds and 2.0% of 12- to 17-year-olds met the criteria for RLS. Moderately or severely distressing RLS symptoms were reported as much as twice a week in 0.5% and 1.0% of children, respectively. Convincing descriptions of restless legs syndrome symptoms were provided. No significant gender differences were found.
Sleep disturbance was significantly more common in children and adolescents with restless legs syndrome than in controls (69.4% vs 39.6%), as was a history of "growing pains" (80.6% vs 63.2%). Nearly half of the RLS patients reported a "negative effect on mood" during the daytime.


Read the abstract of the study by clicking here.