Restless Leg Syndrome Linked to Heart Disease

Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, is a sleep stealer for millions of people.  Its symptoms, constant twitching of legs that happens mostly at night, sound simple, but its sufferers spend nights walking, massaging, and wishing they could sleep.  Now, new research indicates that RLS could damage the heart … possibly due to lack of sleep.

The condition linked to RLS is a problem known as left ventricular hypertrophy, in which the wall of the heart becomes thicker, making pumping blood more difficult.

RLS may impact up to 12-million Americans, but some believe that number could be too high.  Medical science doesn’t know what causes it.  Some recent studies have linked it to specific genes, indicating that it is a physiological phenomenon and not just a minor ailment.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona recently studied nearly 600 patients who had been referred for RLS.  In three years of follow-up, the patients with the greatest number of twitches and the thickest heart walls were more than twice as likely to have suffered a heart attack or to have died.  Their findings were presented at a recent meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers say those who have severe RLS should consult with their physician.

Source: Los Angeles Times