J Korean Med Sci.  2019 Apr;34(16):e130. 10.3346/jkms.2019.34.e130.

Association between Restless Legs Syndrome Symptoms and Self-Reported Hypertension: a Nationwide Questionnaire Study in Korea

  • 1Department of Neurology, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neurology, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Neurology, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Sleep Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea. neurofan@schmc.ac.kr


The association between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and hypertension remains controversial. We investigated the relationship between RLS and hypertension in a nationwide sample of the Korean adult population.
This was a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study including 2,740 adults aged 19 years or more. Subjects who met the four essential International RLS Study Group criteria and reported symptoms occurring at least once a week were defined as the RLS group. The presence of hypertension was defined as a self-reported history of physician-diagnosed hypertension. We conducted multiple logistic regression analysis to determine the independent association between RLS symptoms and self-reported hypertension after adjusting for potential confounding factors.
Among the 2,740 subjects, 68 (2.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9%-3.1%) were found to have RLS with a symptom frequency of at least once a week. The prevalence of self-reported hypertension was 30.9% (95% CI, 20.5%-42.0%) in the RLS group, which was significantly higher than that in controls (12.4%; 95% CI, 11.2%-13.6%; P < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the adjusted odds ratio for self-reported hypertension in the RLS group was 2.10 (95% CI, 1.12-3.93) compared to controls. In addition to RLS symptoms, old age, being overweight, low education level, diabetes mellitus, and short sleep duration were significantly associated with self-reported hypertension.
RLS symptoms occurring at least once a week is independently associated with a higher prevalence of self-reported hypertension in the adult Korean population. Further research will confirm the clinical implication of the present results and the causal relationship between RLS and hypertension.


Restless Legs Syndrome; Willis-Ekbom Disease; Hypertension; Prevalence
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