A journal, Neurology by Xiang Gao, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, is reporting a study of Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS. It turns out that it can kill you.
Maybe it would not be listed as ‘cause of death’ on a death certificate, but it is problematic when linked with other conditions. In a study, Gao found that men with RLS had a 40 percent greater chance of dying, than those without the condition.
“It brings recognition to RLS, which is largely unrecognized and under-diagnosed.” Gao says. “It suggests the importance to further understand (the condition).”
In their study, Gao and colleagues tracked more than 18,000 men in their late 60s or older for eight years and found that among 690 with restless leg syndrome, 171, or 25% of the men with the disorder, died in that period. Fifteen percent without RLS died.
He also found that those with heart disease, high blood pressure, or cancer, were 92 percent more likely to suffer an early death if RLS was factored in.
Gao says the next step is to discover the cause of RLS. It has never received the priority, and this study should move it up on the list.
An estimated 10 percent of Americans have RLS.
A previous study, completed in 2012 in Germany, found no increased chance of early death. András Szentkirályi, a research fellow at Germany’s Semmel University’s Institute of Behavioral Sciences, says he “questions the results.”
“Even with these differences, I was surprised that there were such strong relations between RLS and mortality,” he says. “There still is no explanation for these findings or how to further treat it. We need more research.”
William Ondo, professor of neurology at the University of Texas’ Health Science Center, says that discovering the cause for RLS, and its possible effects on mortality is tricky.
“The issue with these studies is when you look for other confounding illnesses it’s always problematic,” he says. “It’s always going to be debatable.”
The Guardian Express