People with Restless Leg Syndrome at Double Risk
For Heart Attack and Stroke
People who experience the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) may have a heightened risk of stroke and heart disease. In fact, the results of a recently completed study show that people with this condition may actually be a twice the risk of as non-RLS sufferers.
RLS is considered to be a neurological disorder which causes unpleasant sensations in the legs. These included feelings of burning, creeping, tugging or even like insects crawling on the legs. Sensations can range from irritating to painful. People with RLS often have a strong urge to move about when at rest to help relieve the discomfort. Lying down activates the symptoms making the restful sleep difficult.
RLS is a painful condition of the legs that often causes annoying sensations that include creeping, crawling, tugging and tingling feelings. The discomfort usually occurs between the knees and the ankles and is often worse when a person is sitting in a recliner, riding a car or lying down. Often there is involuntary leg movement during sleep or a person may have to extend the legs or get up and walk around in an attempt to relieve the discomfort during the night.
The study was conducted at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. Here 3,433 men and women were enrolled in the Sleep Heart Health Study. Participants were asked to fill out detailed questionnaires regarding their RLS. Additionally, they were asked to provide information about any previous diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or stroke. The average age of the participants was 68. Of the participants, approximately 7 percent of the women and 3 percent of the men had RLS.
What the study found was that people with RLS were more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease. Other physical ailments or lifestyle choices did not change the results. The findings stayed the same regardless of body mass index, diabetes, high blood pressure, medication for blood pressure, cholesterol levels or whether or not a person smoked.
“The association of RLS with heart disease and stroke was strongest in those people who had RLS symptoms at least 16 times per month,” said the study author John W. Winkelman, M.D., of Harvard Medical School. “There was also an increased risk among people who said their RLS symptoms were severe compared to those with less bothersome symptoms.”
Dr. Winkelman wanted it made clear that this study does not show that RLS causes heart attack or stroke, just that a number of potential causes for such an occurrence exist. “In particular, most people with RLS have as many as 200 to 300 periodic leg movements per night of sleep and these leg movements are associated with substantial acute increases in both blood pressure and heart rate, which may, over the long term, produce cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.”
This study was reported to be the largest of its kind ever assembled. It has been found in numerous other studies that this condition has been helped through nutrition, exercise, as well as Chiropractic treatments.
There is no laboratory test for RLS. The medical profession only makes a diagnosis through symptoms reported by the patient. With no cause known to doctors, they, along with the pharmaceutical industry, are pretty much shooting in the dark in their attempt to offer solutions to RLS suffers.
Several things are generally known about the occurrence of the problem. Often it happens to pregnant women, but eases soon after the child is delivered; sometimes it is associated with an iron deficiency; and it can sometimes occur in conjunction with other chronic diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and peripheral neuropathy ( a disorder of the nervous system).
While the medical community is treating RLS with drugs and shaking their heads in confusion when someone asks what causes it, the Chiropractic profession has answers and treatment options. Chiropractors recognize structural and nutritional issues may be a major contributing factor. This makes a visit to the chiropractor the top choice when it comes to finding relief from the causes and symptoms of RLS.