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Restless Legs Linked to Heart Disease in Older Women

September 28, 2012



Harvard Health Publications announced that a study published in the September issue of Circulation found that older women with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) have an elevated risk of heart disease.

In the study, researchers examined a six year span of questionnaires from 70,694 women who participated in the the Nurses' Health Study (median age 67) and found that about one in 60 of the women diagnosed with RLS developed heart disease, compared to about one in 100 of the women without RLS. Women with RLS were about 50% more likely to develop heart disease than women without RLS, especially if they had RLS for more than three years.

Co-author Dr. John Winkelman, medical director of the Sleep Health Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School told Harvard Health Publications that if the link is confirmed it would show that restless legs syndrome carries a burden of future risk of a serious medical illness. The study suggests that Women with RLS should consider taking a closer look at their heart health and taking steps to lower their heart disease risk.



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