New Orleans: The night time twitching of restless legs syndrome may be more than an annoyance: New research suggests that in some people, it could be a sign of hidden heart problems.People with very frequent leg movements during sleep were more likely to have thick hearts — a condition that makes them more prone to cardiac problems, stroke and death, the study by Mayo Clinic doctors found."We are not saying there is a cause-and-effect relationship," just that restless legs might be a sign of heart trouble that doctors and patients should consider, said Dr. Arshad Jahangir, a heart rhythm specialist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale.
It involved 584 people diagnosed with the syndrome by a neurologist based on four widely used criteria. Participants were given an imaging test that allowed heart thickness to be measured three ways, and were kept overnight so their sleep could be monitored.Afterward, researchers divided them into two groups based on the frequency of leg twitches. The 45 percent who twitched at least 35 times per hour were more likely to have the thick-heart condition than the other 55 percent of study participants who kicked less often.Looking at all study participants about three years later, researchers saw that those with severely thick hearts — about a quarter of the total group — were more than twice as likely to have suffered a heart problem or to have died.The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and a private grant.People with restless legs shouldn`t panic, but it`s worth talking with doctors about whether more tests are needed to look for an enlarged heart, Jahangir said."Don`t ignore it. Discuss it with your physician," he said. Bureau Report
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