Low RLS prevalence and awareness in central Greece: an epidemiological survey

Eur J Neurol. 2007 Nov;14(11):1275-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2007.01966.x.


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensorimotor disorder with a general population prevalence of 3-10%. A single, previous epidemiological study performed in south-east Europe reported the lowest prevalence rate amongst European countries. We conducted a population-based survey of RLS in central Greece. A total of 4200 subjects were randomly recruited. We used the international RLS study group criteria for diagnosis and the severity scale for severity assessment in subjects with RLS. We also included questions to assess the level of awareness of RLS in our region. A total of 3033 subjects were screened. The overall lifetime prevalence was 3.9% with a female-to-male ratio of 2.6:1. Nearly half of RLS patients reported moderate to severe intensity of symptoms. After adjustment for multiple comparisons we found no association of RLS with education level, smoking, alcohol intake, caffeine consumption, shift work, professional pesticide use or comorbid illness. Our study revealed a low level of awareness amongst the population and physicians in our region and sub-optimal management. We provide further evidence for low prevalence of RLS in south-east Europe and a low level of awareness of RLS in our region.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Awareness*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*