Restless legs syndrome may raise high blood pressure risk

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 11, 2011 16:39

Study shows that middle-aged women with RLS, a sensory motor disorder characterized by intense leg sensations, have higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

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DOCTORS AT Kaplan Hospital

DOCTORS AT Kaplan Hospital 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

New reseach from the US suggests that middle-aged women with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

RLS is a common yet under-recognized sensory motor disorder characterized by intense, unpleasant leg sensations, and an irresistible urge to move the legs.

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According to the report in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, women who reported five to 14 incidences of RLS each month had a 26 percent prevalence of high blood pressure.

Those who suffered more than 15 incidences of RLS had a 33 percent prevalence of high blood pressure.

This is compared to a 21.4 percent prevalence of high blood pressure among those women who had no RLS symptoms.

"If future prospective research confirms this association, then early diagnosis and treatment of RLS might help prevent hypertension," said Salma Batool-Anwar, M.D., M.P.H., the study's first author, and a researcher in the Sleep Medicine Division at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. "In some cases the treatment of RLS is as simple as prescribing iron supplements, therefore, women who have symptoms suggestive of RLS should talk to their physicians."

A significant relationship between RLS severity and blood pressure was found by the researchers. According to the study, a greater frequency of RLS symptoms was associated with higher concurrent systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Previous studies in men have suggested a link between frequency of RLS symptoms and the prevalence of high blood pressure.


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