Restless legs? Watch your heart
It always starts as a tingle running up my leg. But within a few minutes, I just can’t keep my legs still. As much as I might try to will them to relax, they won’t stop jumping and twitching.
It’s even worse on a long night-time car ride, trapped in the passenger seat with nowhere to go.
But it turns out the restless leg syndrome (RLS) itself could be the least of my worries, as distressing as the feeling may be. Researchers have recently discovered a worrisome link between RLS and a major killer: heart disease. This connection was found only in women.
The link isn’t a life sentence, but it does offer a good reason to take special care of your heart.
In the study, researchers found that women who had been diagnosed with RLS at least three years before the start of the study were at higher risk for heart disease. In fact, the rate of death for this group was more than double that of women without RLS. Women with the syndrome were more likely to have non-fatal heart attacks then their calm-legged counterparts.
The researchers think it might have something to do with the fact that people with RLS have higher blood pressure and faster heart rates. These factors could raise the risk of heart disease. The disruption to sleep could also come into play.
I was pleased to see that the researchers weren’t jumping right to suggesting people with RLS start taking drugs for the condition. In fact, they mention the side effects and limited benefits. What a pleasant surprise!
They do, however, advise that women with RLS make lifestyle changes to reduce their heart disease risk. They’re also hoping that these findings lead doctors to take RLS more seriously.
Of course, when it comes to protecting hearts, you can’t find a better place to start than Nutrition & Healing and the e-Tips. The archive at www.wrightnewsletter.com has a wealth of information, including these gems:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (obtained in a couple of servings of fish a week) can reduce the risk of heart failure.
- There’s a specific type of flour that could slash your risk.
- Of course, there’s an old e-Tips favorite: vitamin C.
- And it could all come down to something as simple as eating your fruits and veggies.
Really, that’s just the beginning. Why not pour a nice cup of green tea (it has heart benefits, too!) and cozy up with the archive for a bit? While you’re there, you’ll find plenty of natural therapies for restless leg syndrome, too.
And for even more heart-protecting tips subscribers to Nutrition & Healing can take a look at the January 2012 issue where I revealed what I think is the most overlooked factor in heart health that can reduce your risk of heart attack by 88%.
If you’re not already subscriber it’s easy to become one. Just click here to sign up and get access to my entire archives of back issues.
P.S. Keep reading to learn about an ongoing debate with BHRT–and how it might affect you.
“Restless Legs Linked to CHD: New Prospective Data,” Medscape Today (medscape.com)
“Restless legs, heart disease link still murky,” Medline Plus (nlm.nih.gov)