Researchers discover link between common sleep disorder and high blood pressure

June 12, 2007

An international team of researchers, led by Emory University clinician scientists, has found evidence that people suffering from moderate to severe cases of restless legs syndrome (RLS) are at significantly increased risk for developing hypertension.

RLS, a common and debilitating sleep disorder, adversely affects the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. The study findings were conducted by scientists at Emory University with colleagues at deCODE Genetics, Inc., an Icelandic genomics company, and Icelandic physicians at Landspitali in Reykjavik.

The findings will be presented June 12th at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis, Minn.

RLS is a condition that produces an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs because of creeping, crawling, tingling or burning sensations. RLS affects approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population, causing considerable discomfort, insomnia and sleep disruption in people of all ages. Symptoms can occur when people are awake or asleep.

David Rye, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, director of the Emory Program in Sleep and lead author of the study, says the association between RLS and increased risk for high blood pressure was confirmed with the new study.

"Our results confirm and extend accumulating evidence that periodic leg movements of sleep (PLMs) seen in most RLS patients are associated with increased release of adrenaline," says Dr. Rye.

"Of greatest import, these findings suggest that the clinical significance of PLMs extends beyond sleep disruption and sleepiness," he says. "Our findings indicate that in addition to treating RLS symptoms, effective treatments may also need to target PLMs, particularly in patients at high-risk for cardiovascular disease (e.g., those with strong family histories of premature cardiovascular disease, smoking, etc.).

Source: Emory University

Explore further: Fruit flies with Restless Legs Syndrome point to a genetic cause

Related Stories

Fruit flies with Restless Legs Syndrome point to a genetic cause

May 31, 2012
When flies are made to lose a gene with links to Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), they suffer the same sleep disturbances and restlessness that human patients do. The findings reported online on May 31 in Current Biology strongly ...

Recommended for you

Researchers illustrate how muscle growth inhibitor is activated, could aid in treating ALS

January 19, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are part of an international team that has identified how the inactive or latent form of GDF8, a signaling protein also known as myostatin responsible for ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.