WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A study from Penn State University found suicide risk to be 2.7 times greater among people diagnosed with restless leg syndrome (RLS).
- A chronic neurological condition, RLS causes legs to move uncontrollably at night and is often linked to discomfort and insomnia.
- US suicide rates have increased to 30 percent and are the top killer of men in the UK.
New research discovers that individuals with restless leg syndrome (RLS) have a nearly threefold higher suicide risk. Thus, doctors are cautioned by the study researchers to especially focus their attention to the mental health of patients with the excruciating condition.
RLS is a common neurological disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move especially at night where uncomfortable sensations in the lower limbs are often experienced.
The condition, which affects one in 20 adults in the UK and about one in 10 in the US, is often connected to cases of severe sleep deprivation.
Out of the almost 170,000 people who were involved in the Pennsylvania State University research, those with restless leg syndrome were found to be 2.7 times more likely to commit suicide or self-harm.
Corresponding author and Penn State epidemiologist, Dr. Xiang Gao, said the findings suggest that RLS isn’t just a physical condition, rather, it is also related to mental health. He added saying, “With RLS being under-diagnosed and suicide rates rising, clinicians may want to be careful when they are screening patients both for RLS and suicide risk.”
Since the turn of the century, suicide rates in the US have increased by up to 30 percent while it has become the single leading killer of men under 45 in the UK.
“Suicide is a global health concern often associated with multiple risk factors including male sex, family history of suicide, childhood adversity, alcohol abuse, psychiatric disorders and sleep problems,” said Dr. Gao.
Continuing, Dr. Gao explained that because both sleep disturbance and depression are highly concurrent with RLS sufferers, the raised overall mortality risk linked with RLS may possibly be caused by a larger risk of death from suicide.
In the new study, Gao’s team compared the health data of privately insured Americans between 2006 and 2014; 24,179 had been diagnosed with RLS while 145,194 had not.
While neither of those diagnosed with RLS and the control group had any behavioral history prior to the tracking, the study discovered that the former had a 270 percent higher chance of suicide or self-harm despite considering factors like depression, sleep disorders and common chronic illnesses.
Co-author and health promotion and disease prevention expert, Dr Muzi Na, said that despite these factors taken into account, RLS could still be an independent variable contributing to suicide and self-harm,” adding that their results can help future studies understand the mechanism more.
The study was published in the JAMA Network Open.
Source: Daily Mail Online