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Restless legs syndrome may signify bigger health problems

Date:
March 5, 2014
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
A nationally-recognized sleep expert has published an editorial describing Restless Legs Syndrome as a possible biomarker for underlying disease. RLS is a disorder of the nervous system. Patients with RLS have uncomfortable sensations in their legs which lead to an overwhelming urge to move them -- most often at night or whenever the patient is resting.

A nationally-recognized sleep expert has published an editorial describing Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) as a possible biomarker for underlying disease. The editorial appears in the March 5, 2014 issue of Neurology the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology and was authored by Boston Medical Center neurologist Sanford H. Auerbach, MD.

RLS is a disorder of the nervous system. Patients with RLS have uncomfortable sensations in their legs which lead to an overwhelming urge to move them -- most often at night or whenever the patient is resting.

The editorial was in response to an analysis of 12,556 men who were followed over time by the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, published in the same issue of Neurology, which showed multiple disease associations with RLS.

"Patients with RLS had a higher mortality rate than similar men, and showed an especially strong tendency toward cardiovascular disease and hypertension," said Auerbach, associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. In earlier analyses of the same data, men with RLS were more likely to be diagnosed with lung disease, endocrine disease, diseases of nutrition and metabolism and immune system problems.

Auerbach suggests that restless leg syndrome is a meaningful biomarker for serious disease, and that RLS screening may become more common as a tool for primary care providers to identify patients at risk.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Auerbach, A. S. Walters. Restless legs syndrome: A predictor of lower physical function. Neurology, 2014; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000298

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Restless legs syndrome may signify bigger health problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305191435.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2014, March 5). Restless legs syndrome may signify bigger health problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305191435.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Restless legs syndrome may signify bigger health problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305191435.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

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