Fibromyalgia linked to restless legs syndrome

Washington: A new study discovered that adults with fibromyalgia, a medical disorder characterized wit chronic widespread pain, had a much higher prevalence and risk of restless legs (RLS) syndrome than healthy controls.

The study suggests that treating RLS may improve sleep and quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.

Results show that the prevalence of restless legs syndrome was about 10 times higher in the fibromyalgia group (33 percent) than among controls (3.1 percent).

As expected, participants reported considerable sleep disruption with fibromyalgia and sleep problems were more severe among people who also suffered RLS.

"Sleep disruption is common in fibromyalgia, and often difficult to treat. It is apparent from our study that a substantial portion of sleep disruption in fibromyalgia is due to restless legs syndrome,” said Nathaniel F. Watson, lead author of the study.

The research team studied 172 people suffering from the disease who had a mean age of 50 years; 93 percent were female. They were compared with 63 healthy controls who had a mean age of 41 years.

Watson noted that treating restless legs syndrome might be one of the keys to reducing fatigue and improving quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.

"Since restless legs syndrome is a treatable condition, diagnosing and treating RLS in fibromyalgia patients has the potential to improve their sleep," said Watson.

A study is published in the mid October issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.


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