Severity of increased restless legs syndrome (RLS) is associated with subsequent increased risk of stroke, a new study suggests. Other known risk factors of increased RLS severity are age, smoking, hypertension and unhealthy diet.
"We were surprised at the importance of taking into account RLS severity -- it was only severe RLS that was associated with increased risk of stroke," said senior author Xiang Gao, associate professor, department of nutritional sciences at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park.
Information on RLS was collected through questionnaire which was based on International RLS Study Group criteria.
The study group comprised 72,916 female registered nurses ages 41-58 years in 2005, free of diabetes, stroke and pregnancy at the baseline.
There were 161 incident stroke cases during the six-year follow-up.
The study appeared in the journal Sleep