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Study finds a high rate of restless legs syndrome in adults with fibromyalgia
Date:10/14/2010

f pressure to tender points on the arms and legs.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue. It is estimated to affect 5 million Americans age 18 or older, and between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. The causes of fibromyalgia remain unknown.

Restless legs syndrome was diagnosed using a self-administered, validated questionnaire. RLS is a sleep-related movement disorder that involves an urge to move the legs that is usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs. This urge begins or worsens during periods of rest or inactivity, is partially or totally resolved by movement, and worsens or only occurs at night. RLS occurs 1.5 to two times more commonly in women than in men.

Watson noted that treating restless legs syndrome may be one of the keys to reducing fatigue and improving quality of life in people with fibromyalgia. RLS often can be successfully treated with a medication such as pramipexole or ropinirole.

"Since restless legs syndrome is a treatable condition, diagnosing and treating RLS in fibromyalgia patients has the potential to improve their sleep," Watson said.

According to the authors, the cross-sectional nature of the study did not allow for an examination of causality. However, several aspects of the two syndromes suggest a logical overlap. Both disorders involve sensory abnormalities, and a similar pathophysiology of the system that regulates the neurotransmitter dopamine has been proposed for both syndromes. Furthermore, restless legs syndrome may be induced by antidepressants, which are a common treatment for pain and depression in fibromyalgia. Also, exercise has been shown to improve the symptoms of both syndromes.


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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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