Study of Restless Legs Syndrome in Canada Finds it Runs in Families

By Jobee Knight

A study was recently published in the Archives of Neurology on Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).  RLS is a disruptive condition that affects the nervous system and up to 10% of the U.S. population have some form of it.  It results in an irresistible urge to move the legs, often accompanied by unpleasant sensations in the legs such as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling or pain.  Because RLS most often occurs in the evening, it can disrupt sleep, contribute to insomnia, and reduce a person’s quality of life.

In the Montreal Canada study, RLS patients were followed up in a specialized sleep center for 15 years.  479 affected family members were assessed by their responses to a structured questionnaire.

The Results — the researchers data showed that RLS occurs in families, with 77% of those having the condition being in a family with other members who have it.  Siblings of a person who is severely afflicted with the condition are about 3.6 times more likely to have the disease than those without an affected sibling, and offspring of parents with the condition have 1.8 times the risk.

The researchers also write that RLS has an average duration of 24 years and is more prominent among women who also have an increased incidence of anemia or iron deficiency, arthritis, or a number of pregnancies.

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