Clinical Neuroscience

Restless Leg Syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease in women with iron deficiency anemia

KOLUKISA Mehmet1, SOYSAL Pinar2, GÜLTEKIN Özdemir Tugce1, KARATOPRAK Cumali3, BILGEN Rengin Halide1, GÜRSOY Esra Azize1

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Clinical Neuroscience - 2016;69(09-10)


Background and purpose - Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED) is a common condition associated with reduced quality of life and other medical conditions, particularly cardiovascular diseases. Despite its common occurrence, it is widely underdiagnosed and undertreated. Therefore, identification of high-risk individuals for RLS/WED bears diagnostic and therapeutic significance. Iron deficiency anemia has a role in the pathophysiology of RLS/WED and both conditions have been reported to occur higher in females. In this study, the frequency of RLS/WED among women diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia was examined as well as laboratory variables that could guide the clinician in the diagnosis of RLS/WED. Methods - A total of 51 women attending to the department of internal medicine with complaints of fatigue and tiredness and diagnosed as having iron deficiency anemia were evaluated using the International Restless Leg Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) diagnostic criteria for RLS. Laboratory variables were recorded. The severity of RLS/WED was assessed using the RLS rating scale in patients diagnosed with RLS/WED. Results - RLS/WED was diagnosed in 41.1% of the women with iron deficiency anemia. There were no significant differences between women with or without RLS /WED in terms of laboratory variables. Also, no correlations were observed between disease severity and laboratory variables. Conclusion - There is an 8 to 10-fold increase in the incidence of RLS/WED among women with iron deficiency anemia as compared to general population. Therefore, a possible diagnosis of RLS/WED should be kept in mind in all women with iron deficiency anemia.


  1. Bezmialem Vakıf University, Medical Faculty, Department of Neurology, Istanbul, Turkey
  2. Eylül University, Medical Faculty, Department of Geriatrics, Izmir, Turkey
  3. Bezmialem Vakıf University, Medical Faculty, Department of Internal Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey



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