Emory University researchers working with colleagues at deCODE Genetics, Inc., an Icelandic genomics company, and Icelandic physicians at Landspitali in Reykjavik, say the periodic leg movements of sleep seen in most restless legs syndrome patients are associated with an increased adrenaline release.
The research team recruited 900 Icelanders for the study. Participants provided clinical information and the number of periodic leg movements of sleep they experienced per hour of sleep over a period of two to five nights.
Researchers found the likelihood of hypertension increased with periodic leg movements of sleep severity by 50 percent in participants who experienced more than 30 periodic leg movements of sleep per hour of sleep. Older age and higher body mass index were associated with increased hypertension risk, but periodic leg movements of sleep were associated with hypertension status independent of age and weight.