Multimorbidity and the risk of restless legs syndrome in 2 prospective cohort studies

András Szentkirályi, Henry Völzke, Wolfgang Hoffmann, Claudia Trenkwalder, Klaus Berger

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Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the association between the cumulative effect of comorbidity and the risk of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in 2 population-based German cohort studies. Methods: The Dortmund Health Study (DHS) (n = 1,312; median follow-up time: 2.1 years) and the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP) (n = 4,308; median follow-up time: 5.0 years) were used for the analyses. RLS was assessed at baseline and follow-up according to the RLS minimal criteria. A comorbidity index was calculated as a sum of the following conditions: diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction, obesity, stroke, cancer, renal disease, anemia, depression, thyroid disease, and migraine. The relationship between comorbidity and incident RLS was analyzed with multivariate logistic regression models. Results: An increase in the number of comorbid conditions at baseline predicted prevalent RLS (DHS: trend odds ratio [OR] = 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.99-1.56; SHIP: trend OR = 1.34, 95% CI 1.18-1.52) and incident RLS (DHS: trend OR = 1.32, 95% CI 1.04-1.68; SHIP: trend OR = 1.59, 95% CI 1.37-1.85) after adjustment for several covariates. The ORs for incident RLS associated with 3 or more comorbid diseases (DHS: OR = 2.51, 95% CI 1.18-5.34; SHIP: OR = 4.30, 95% CI 2.60-7.11) were higher than the ORs for any single disease. Conclusions: Multimorbidity was a strong risk factor for RLS in these 2 population-based cohort studies. The results support the hypothesis that cumulative disease burden is more important than the presence of a specific single disease in the pathophysiology of RLS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2026-2033
Number of pages8
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Jun 3 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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