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Absence of cardiovascular disease risk factors in restless legs syndrome

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Objective –  Restless legs syndrome (RLS) might represent a condition at risk of cardiovascular (and cerebrovascular) disease; the role of sleep periodic leg movements, sleep deprivation, and presence of common risk factors for heart disease in these patients remains to be determined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the eventual presence of risk factors for cerebrovascular disease in RLS.

Materials &Methods –  Eighty‐seven consecutive patients affected by idiopathic RLS were included in this study together with 81 controls. Blood count, chemistry, and kidney function tests were obtained. We detected subjects suffering from diabetes mellitus, kidney diseases, heart diseases, disk herniation, neuropathy, blood diseases, liver diseases, artery diseases, dyslipidemia, or hypertension. Polysomnography was recorded in 66 patients, and cerebral neuroimaging was obtained in 59 patients with RLS.

Results –  None of the differences in blood test parameters was statistically significant; however, hypertension was found to be more frequent in controls and dyslipidemia was more frequent in patients with RLS, but this was explained by its higher frequency in patients also affected by obstructive sleep apnea. A diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease was posed for 14 patients with RLS (16.1%), but no predictive factor for its presence was found at the binomial logistic regression.

Conclusion –  Our findings argue against the presence of an altered lipid metabolism as a risk factor for the development of cerebrovascular disease in patients with RLS, even if they do support the idea that cerebrovascular disease might be frequent in this condition.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurology I.C., Oasi Institute for Research on Mental Retardation and Brain Aging (IRCCS), Troina, Italy 2: Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Catania, Catania, Italy 3: Sleep Disorders Center, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, H San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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