First author Dr. Salma Batool-Anwar, a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said restless legs syndrome -- which affects 15 percent of the adult population -- is an under-recognized sensory motor disorder characterized by intense, unpleasant leg sensations, and an irresistible urge to move the legs.
In 2005, researchers asked 97,642 women in the Nurses Health Study II about their restless legs symptoms and hypertension status. More than 80 percent of the participants responded. The average age was 50.4 years.
The study, published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, found there was a significant relationship between restless legs syndrome severity and blood pressure -- and greater frequency of restless legs syndrome symptoms was associated with higher concurrent systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
This association was independent of other potential factors such as age, body mass index, smoking status, and presence of stroke or heart attack, the study said.