The nighttime twitching of restless legs syndrome may be more than an annoyance: New research suggests that in some people, it could be a sign of hidden heart problems.
People with very frequent leg movements during sleep were more likely to have thick hearts — a condition that makes them more prone to cardiac problems, stroke and death, the study by Mayo Clinic doctors found.
“We are not saying there is a cause-and-effect relationship,” just that restless legs might be a sign of heart trouble that doctors and patients should consider, said Dr. Arshad Jahangir, a heart rhythm specialist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona.
He led the study and gave results earlier this week at an American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans.
Restless legs syndrome is thought to afflict millions, though there’s argument about just how many. Some doctors think its seriousness has been exaggerated, possibly to help sell treatments.