The association of restless legs syndrome to history of gestational diabetes in an appalachian primary care population

Kim E. Innes, Sahiti Kandati, Kathryn L. Flack, Parul Agarwal, Terry Kit Selfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a burdensome sensorimotor disorder that has been linked to diabetes and obesity. However, the relationship of RLS to gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a common pregnancy complication strongly associated with obesity and a harbinger of diabetes, remains unknown. In this study, we examined the association of RLS to history of GDM in a sample of older female primary care patients. Methods: Participants were community-dwelling women aged ≥ 40 years drawn from an anonymous survey study of West Virginia adult primary care patients. Data gathered included detailed information on demographics, lifestyle factors, reproductive history, sleep patterns, and medical history; the survey also included an RLS diagnostic questionnaire. Women who were pregnant or had missing data on key variables were excluded from the analyses. Results: Of the 498 participants included in the fi nal analytic sample, 24.5% met diagnostic criteria for RLS (17.9% with symptoms at least once/week). After adjustment for demographics, lifestyle characteristics, body mass index, diabetes and other comorbid conditions, parity, and other factors, those reporting history of GDM were almost three times as likely to meet criteria for RLS (odds ratio [OR] = 2.7, 95% confi dence interval [CI] = 1.3, 5.3). This association increased in magnitude with increasing symptom frequency (adjusted OR for RLS symptoms ≥ 3×/week = 4.8, CI 2.1, 11.2, p for trend = 0.004). Conclusions: History of GDM was strongly and positively related to RLS in this study of older female primary care patients, offering further support for a possible role of metabolic dysregulation in RLS development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1130
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Gestational diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sleep
  • Willis-Ekbom disease


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