Washington: Men, who experience restless legs syndrome -RLS- may have a higher risk of dying earlier, according to a new research.
The disorder is characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs and often causes leg sensations of burning, creeping, and tugging, which are usually worse at night.
The study conducted by Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and the Channing division of network medicine, Brigham and Women`s Hospital in Boston highlights the importance of recognizing this common but under diagnosed disease.
For the study, 18,425 men with an average age of 67 who did not have diabetes, arthritis or kidney failure were evaluated for RLS and a total of 690 of the men, met the criteria.
Information about major chronic diseases was collected every two years.
The study found that men with RLS had a nearly 40 percent increased risk of death compared to men without RLS.
The association dropped only slightly after adjusting for factors such as body mass index, lifestyle, chronic conditions, lack of sleep and other sleep disorders.
When the researchers excluded people with major chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure from the analysis, the association between RLS and an increased risk of death rose to 92 percent higher than those without RLS.
"We found that the increased risk was not associated with the usual known risk factors, such as older age, being overweight, lack of sleep, smoking, being physically inactive and having an unhealthy diet," Gao said.
The author added that the increased mortality in RLS was more frequently associated with respiratory disease, endocrine disease, nutritional/metabolic disease and immunological disorders.
The study was published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.