Restless legs syndrome raised hypertension risk in middle-aged women

Batool-Anwar S. Hypertension. 2011;doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.174037.

Sica D. Hypertension. 2011;doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.1080125.

Middle-aged women with more than 15 incidences of restless legs syndrome per month also had a 33% prevalence of hypertension, according to new data from the Nurses’ Health Study II.

The cross-sectional study included more than 65,000 women aged 41 to 58 years who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Self reports of restless legs syndrome, hypertension, age, BMI, smoking status, physical activity, menopausal status, use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, presence of stroke or MI and dietary intake were assessed by questionnaires, and the relationship between hypertension and restless leg syndrome was analyzed by multivariable logistic regression models.

Overall, women with restless legs syndrome had a higher risk for having hypertension vs. women who did not have symptoms (OR=1.20; 95% CI, 1.10-1.30). Women with restless leg syndrome symptoms five to 14 times per month had a 26% prevalence of hypertension (OR=1.06; 95% CI, 0.94-1.18) compared with a prevalence of 21.4% among women with no restless legs syndrome symptoms (OR=1.41; 95% CI, 1.24-1.61). Additionally, women who had a higher BMI (>30) and restless legs syndrome symptoms 15 or more times per month had higher odds of hypertension (OR=1.57; 95% CI, 1.28-1.93) vs. women with less frequent restless legs syndrome symptoms (OR=1.15; 95% CI, 0.96-1.37), according to study results. The association between more frequent restless legs syndrome symptoms and a higher risk for hypertension was also found in women who slept fewer than 8 hours per day. Researchers found a higher rate of systolic (P<.0001) and diastolic (P<.0001) BP in women with a greater frequency of restless legs syndrome symptoms.

“As is the case in general practice, restless legs syndrome might be viewed as only one of several factors that could contribute to an elevation in BP … [based on these observational data] no insight can be provided into whether treatment of restless legs syndrome could in any sort of meaningful way lower BP,” Domenic Sica, MD, of the section of clinical pharmacology and hypertension, division of nephrology, and David Leszczyszyn, MD, PhD, of the Center for Sleep Medicine, department of neurology, both at Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote in an accompanying editorial. “In the foreseeable future, the hypertension specialist and … any clinician actively treating hypertension will need to have more than just a passing knowledge of sleep patterns and sleep-related diseases to most effectively treat hypertension and accompanying CVDs.”

Disclosures: Drs. Batool-Anwar and Leszczyszyn report no relevant financial disclosures. Dr. Sica is on the advisory board for UCB Pharma.

Twitter Follow CardiologyToday.com on Twitter.

Middle-aged women with more than 15 incidences of restless legs syndrome per month also had a 33% prevalence of hypertension, according to new data from the Nurses’ Health Study II.

The cross-sectional study included more than 65,000 women aged 41 to 58 years who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Self reports of restless legs syndrome, hypertension, age, BMI, smoking status, physical activity, menopausal status, use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, presence of stroke or MI and dietary intake were assessed by questionnaires, and the relationship between hypertension and restless leg syndrome was analyzed by multivariable logistic regression models.

Overall, women with restless legs syndrome had a higher risk for having hypertension vs. women who did not have symptoms (OR=1.20; 95% CI, 1.10-1.30). Women with restless leg syndrome symptoms five to 14 times per month had a 26% prevalence of hypertension (OR=1.06; 95% CI, 0.94-1.18) compared with a prevalence of 21.4% among women with no restless legs syndrome symptoms (OR=1.41; 95% CI, 1.24-1.61). Additionally, women who had a higher BMI (>30) and restless legs syndrome symptoms 15 or more times per month had higher odds of hypertension (OR=1.57; 95% CI, 1.28-1.93) vs. women with less frequent restless legs syndrome symptoms (OR=1.15; 95% CI, 0.96-1.37), according to study results. The association between more frequent restless legs syndrome symptoms and a higher risk for hypertension was also found in women who slept fewer than 8 hours per day. Researchers found a higher rate of systolic (P<.0001) and diastolic (P<.0001) BP in women with a greater frequency of restless legs syndrome symptoms.

“As is the case in general practice, restless legs syndrome might be viewed as only one of several factors that could contribute to an elevation in BP … [based on these observational data] no insight can be provided into whether treatment of restless legs syndrome could in any sort of meaningful way lower BP,” Domenic Sica, MD, of the section of clinical pharmacology and hypertension, division of nephrology, and David Leszczyszyn, MD, PhD, of the Center for Sleep Medicine, department of neurology, both at Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote in an accompanying editorial. “In the foreseeable future, the hypertension specialist and … any clinician actively treating hypertension will need to have more than just a passing knowledge of sleep patterns and sleep-related diseases to most effectively treat hypertension and accompanying CVDs.”

Disclosures: Drs. Batool-Anwar and Leszczyszyn report no relevant financial disclosures. Dr. Sica is on the advisory board for UCB Pharma.

Twitter Follow CardiologyToday.com on Twitter.