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Are Fibromyalgia and Restless Legs Syndrome Linked?

According to a researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, the risk of restless legs syndrome is high in people suffering from Fibromyalgia. Treatment of the former condition can lead to improvement in the quality of life and sleep in patient’s suffering from the latter condition.

The study is published in the October 15th 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and was supported by the National Fibromyalgia Research Association and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the NIH.

Is There a Relationship Between Fibromyalgia and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?

  • As a part of the study, 172 people around the age of 50 and suffering from the painful condition were observed and the results were compared with that of healthy people around the age of 41 years.
  • Results of the study revealed that fibromyalgia patients are 10 times more at risk of developing RLS.
  • This threat also enhanced the lack of sleep complaint, common among the patients with the former condition.
  • Such a development establishes a link between both the conditions according to the researchers.

Significance of the Research Linking Fibromyalgia and Restless Legs Syndrome:
Unfortunately the cause of the painful fibromyalgia condition is not known yet. 5 million Americans age 18 or older are affected by this condition according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, with 80-90 percent of the diagnosed patients being women.

Fibromyalgia is generally self-reported and the pain involved with it is widespread and chronic by nature. Even RLS is diagnosed through self-administered manners or validated questionnaire.

The research has found that treating RLS condition in fibromyalgia patients can improve the quality of life of people and sleep disorders in them. Role of dopamine neurotransmitter has been found to be present in both the syndromes. Antidepressants along with exercise are found to improve the symptoms of these conditions too.

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