Restless Legs Syndrome Ups Hypertension Risk in Women

The risk of hypertension increases with increasing frequency of restless legs symptoms

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged women with restless legs syndrome (RLS) are more likely to develop hypertension than women without the condition, and this prevalence increases with the frequency of restless legs symptoms, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in Hypertension.

Salma Batool-Anwar, M.D., from the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues investigated the association between RLS and hypertension in 65,544 middle-aged women (age 41 to 58 years) who were participants in the Nurses' Health Study II. Women with diabetes mellitus or arthritis were excluded from the study. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data on RLS (based on the International Restless Legs Study Group criteria), diagnosis of hypertension, and blood pressure. The multivariable logistic regression analysis was adjusted for age, race, body mass index, physical activity, smoking, analgesics use, menopausal status, and intake of alcohol, caffeine, folate, and iron.

The investigators found that women with RLS had a 1.20 times higher multiple adjusted odds of developing hypertension than women without RLS. The multivariate adjusted odds ratios for hypertension were 1.06 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.94 to 1.18) and 1.41 (95 percent CI, 1.24 to 1.61) for women with restless legs symptoms five to 14 times per month and 15 times or more per month, respectively, relative to those without symptoms. Having an increased frequency of restless legs symptoms was significantly correlated with higher concurrent systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

"We found that women with RLS had a higher risk of having hypertension than those without RLS, independent of several known risk factors for hypertension," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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