In June of 2013, the dramatic results of a study performed at the Harvard School of Public Health were released. The study revealed that out of a large subject group (one they had been monitoring for several years), of all the fatalities during that period, restless legs sufferers within the study group had a 40% higher mortality rate than the rest of the test subjects.
In my years of studying and researching all things inflammation / restless legs, I have never seen any study receive as much press as this one has.
If you haven't read it, the results are alarming, and sobering.
from USA Today "Restless Leg Syndrome Linked to Risk of Earlier Death"
"New research in the journal Neurology by Xiang Gao, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, shows that men with Restless Legs Syndrome faced a 40% higher risk of dying earlier than other men in the study.
In their study, Gao and colleagues tracked more than 18,000 men in their late 60s or older for eight years and found that among 690 with restless leg syndrome, 171, or 25% of the men with the disorder, died in that period. Fifteen percent without RLS died.
The exact cause for the disorder or why it would raise a person's risk of dying earlier than normal has yet to be determined. That, Gao says, "is the next question to answer."
Consequently, uncovering the explanation for RLS and its effects has proved tricky, especially when considering patients with multiple conditions. The answer will reveal itself only with more research and time, says William Ondo, professor of neurology at the University of Texas' Health Science Center.
"The issue with these studies is when you look for other confounding illnesses it's always problematic," he says. "It's always going to be debatable.""
"Prospective study of restless legs syndrome and mortality among men."
Yanping Li, PhD, Wei Wang, MD, PhD, John W. Winkelman, MD, PhD, Atul Malhotra, MD, Jing Ma, MD, PhD and Xiang Gao, MD, PhD. June 12, 2013, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318297eee0 Neurology 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318297eee0
The first thing I need to make ABSOLUTELY clear to you is that your twitching legs (or other body part), whether you want to call it Willis-Ekbom Disease or Restless Legs Syndrome ... is NOT a disease.
Your twitching and rustling is a SYMPTOM of something more dangerous that's going on inside your body, unknown to you - a CHRONIC INFLAMMATION that is constantly growing within.
RLS is a biomarker ... an indicator of a greater underlying issue.
A recent study by neurologist Sanford H. Auerbach, MD. of the Boston Medical Center strongly supports this belief.
Restless Legs Syndrome May Signify Bigger Health Problems |
from Medical Xpress / Neurology, March 5, 2014
A nationally-recognized sleep expert has published an editorial describing Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) as a possible biomarker for underlying disease. The editorial appears in the March 5, 2017 issue of Neurology the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology and was authored by Boston Medical Center neurologist Sanford H. Auerbach, MD.
RLS is a disorder of the nervous system. Patients with RLS have uncomfortable sensations in their legs which lead to an overwhelming urge to move them – most often at night or whenever the patient is resting.
The editorial was in response to an analysis of 12,556 men who were followed over time by the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, published in the same issue of Neurology, which showed multiple disease associations with RLS.
“Patients with RLS had a higher mortality rate than similar men, and showed an especially strong tendency toward cardiovascular disease and hypertension,” said Auerbach, associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. In earlier analyses of the same data, men with RLS were more likely to be diagnosed with lung disease, endocrine disease, diseases of nutrition and metabolism and immune system problems.
Auerbach suggests that restless leg syndrome is a meaningful biomarker for serious disease, and that RLS screening may become more common as a tool for primary care providers to identify patients at risk.
Your twitching legs, arms, neck ... whatever it happens to be, is actually telling you something. It's nature at work. It's part of a complex survival system. And it is trying to save your life.|
Below are excerpts from articles that will better explain the body's warning system.
from EXPERIENCE LIFE "What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You: Common signals you shouldn't ignore." by Catherine Guthrie
"The body is a magnificent machine. When things go awry, it generally doesn't just shut down without warning, like an incandescent light bulb popping its filament. Instead it sends us little signals (think of them as gentle biological taps on the shoulder) letting us know that something is amiss.
"Physical signs and symptoms are ways your body tries to alert you to deeper imbalances," says Elson M. Haas, MD, a San Rafael, Calif., physician with a natural-medicine approach and author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts, 2006). "Taking the time to decipher the body's codes is always better than simply popping a pill and hoping the symptoms just go away. Ideally, we want to get to the causes of problems, not just suppress the end result of ill health."
But interpreting the body's quirky Morse code requires a deep level of body awareness that, like any skill, takes time and practice to perfect."
from "How Listening to Your Body Can Save Your Life" by Sheryl W.
"It is important that we all listen to our bodies to stay healthy. Our bodies send us signals to let us know when there is something wrong. Knowing what these signals are and what to do about them can save your life. Ignoring these signals can lead to a potentially minor problem becoming life threatening.
Pain is always a sign that there is a problem. Pain that is not from an injury is something that should not be ignored.
Paying attention to your body is the first step to staying healthy and helping your doctor find any health issues that could be threatening your life. All of your extremities can be a starting point to diagnosing a serious health condition or disease. If you see or feel anything that is abnormal and doesn't go away, you need to check with your physician to see if further testing is necessary. It is up to you to take your health seriously and keep in tune with your bodies signals."
from Psychology Today "Do You Have to Get Sick to Slow Down?" by Paula Davis-Laack, JD, MAPP
"How is your body telling you to slow down? When your body is too stressed, it sends you signals - frequent colds, digestive issues, nervousness, high blood pressure, shakiness, muscle tension, allergies, and so much more. The key is to pay attention to these signals AND discuss them with your health care provider." |
from "Listen to Your Body" by Olga Diamant
"When illness or dis-ease is indicated, it means the body is communicating to us that our way of thinking (although unconscious) is out of harmony with what is beneficial to our being. Illness indicates the need for change in our belief system and tells us that we have reached our physical and psychological limits.
Unfortunately, traditional modern medical practices (and some alternative therapies) take the position that illness is an obstacle and should be fought as an enemy attacking the body. The focus is on ridding the body of symptoms, which is like removing the little red light on the dashboard of a car that indicates a problem.
I have discovered that illness is a gift whose purpose is to bring back the equilibrium in our being."
from The Wall Street Journal "What Your Body Is Telling You" by Melinda Beck
"The body speaks volumes about what ails it -- from obvious warnings like a fever that accompanies an infection to subtle clues like losing hair on the toes, which can be an early sign of vascular disease.
Some signs that seem alarming may actually be harmless: Bright-red stools are more likely to come from eating beets than from intestinal bleeding. But some that seem minor can warn of a serious disorder. Small yellow bumps on the eyelid, for instance, may be fatty deposits that signal high cholesterol, which in turn raises the risk of heart disease.
Other signs seem to make no logical biological sense: Eyebrows that no longer extend over the corners of the eyes can indicate an underactive thyroid, and a diagonal crease in the earlobe seems to herald a heightened risk of heart attack.
Some body signs can have a confusing range of meanings: Does that bulging tummy signify middle-aged spread or the beginning of ovarian cancer?
The problem is that many of us don't recognize the warnings, even when they're staring us in the face. Medical writer Joan Liebmann-Smith was losing weight rapidly. Her hair was falling out. Her heart was racing, and she couldn't sleep. She chalked up her symptoms to the stress of having a new baby, while a psychiatrist she consulted for insomnia told her to just "count sheep."
Over lunch one day, a relative looked at her bulging eyes and the big lump in her throat and said, "Joan -- you have a goiter!" A blood test confirmed that she had an advanced case of Grave's disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid gland to swell and produce too much of the powerful hormone.
"I had all the classic signs, and I ignored them," says Ms. Liebmann-Smith, a medical writer, who resolved to write a guide for laymen to the warning signs of serious illnesses. "Body Signs" -- written with Jacqueline Nardi Egan, a breast-cancer survivor -- came out in 2007 and has since been published in 26 countries.
"We don't want people to panic and jump to conclusions," Ms. Liebmann-Smith says. "But it's important to pay attention to your body. Knowledge is power.""
Do you really believe in your heart of hearts that the 40% higher than normal mortality rate of the RLS subjects in the Harvard School of Public Health study was due to a low iron count? Or because they had inconsistent dopamine levels?
No, obviously not. The deaths have NOTHING to do with twitchy legs. The deaths have EVERYTHING to do with the CHRONIC inflammation that resided within these people.
Chronic inflammation has reached EPIDEMIC proportions!
from "Silent Inflammation" by Dr. Barry Sears
"We often make medicine more complex than it really is. That's because the underlying cause of chronic disease is increased inflammation. What we see as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's are not different diseases, but simply different manifestations of long-term damage caused by a continued inflammatory attack on your organs." |
from "Chronic Inflammation: An American Epidemic" by Barb Goshorn RN MSACN
"Did you know that chronic inflammation is the main contributing factor in all of the chronic degenerative diseases facing Americans today? Consider the following statistics: |
* One in three adult suffers from arthritis, nearly twice as many only two decades ago.
* More than 20 million Americans have asthma.
* More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. This number has doubled in the past twenty years.
* There are 25.8 million people with diabetes, 79 million are pre-diabetic, and 1.9 million new cases were diagnosed in 2010. By the year 2030 it is predicted that 1 in 3 people will have diabetes.
* Over one million Americans have inflammatory bowel disease.
* By the year 2105, the CDC predicts 75% of Americans will be overweight or obese.
Unfortunately, many people immediately reach for medication when they have inflammatory symptoms. This band-aid approach of dealing with the symptoms of disease has become pervasive in how chronic conditions are treated in America."
from "Chronic Inflammation - The Health Epidemic You Don't Know About" by Steve Wallach
"Chronic inflammation is often referred to as "the silent killer" because most people aren't aware they're inflamed until it's too late (i.e., they suffer a heart attack or are diagnosed with disease)." |
from "12 Tips for Extinguishing Disease-Causing Inflammation" by Paul Fassa
"Chronic Inflammation is a silent epidemic; a plague afflicting millions of unsuspecting Americans. It is the mother of most major chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer's and many others.
Chronic inflammation is typically a silent, under the radar, asymptomatic disease - until actual tissue damage and loss of function occurs. There is no single direct test for inflammation. Instead, doctors use indirect methods by measuring blood levels of C-reactive protein, a pro-inflammatory marker and homocysteine levels.
Managing inflammation before it manifests into a recognizable disease is an important key to maintaining one's health. Diet accounts for the majority of the benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle, and keeping inflammation in check is a major part of these benefits."
from Natural Grocers "Inflammation: The Newest Epidemic?"
"What do heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and arthritis all have in common? They all stem from chronic inflammation - the culprit behind almost every modern disease. Understanding the biochemical reactions behind acute versus chronic inflammation can reduce your disease risk and help you lead a more productive, fulfilled life." |
from "The New "Plague" Of Our Times: America's Inflammation Epidemic" by James South, M.A.
"Throughout most of human history, the main threats to human life and health have been the germ diseases: smallpox, bubonic plague, tuberculosis, dysentery, influenza, typhoid fever, etc. In the developed world these diseases have been mostly eradicated over the past century, and a new set of diseases has become the main cause of debility, illness and death.
The illnesses/conditions that plague the industrialized nations include allergies, asthma, age-related frailty, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia, depression, diabetes, heart attack, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, lupus, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, periodontal disease, overweight/obesity, skin disorders, stroke and surgical complications.
Surprisingly, modern science has discovered a common denominator to all these conditions, and it isn't germs. It is inflammation. And while germs may be considered enemy aliens who invade our bodies, inflammatory conditions are created by our own physiologic reactions. As Pogo wisely stated, 'We have met the enemy-and it is us.'"
from Time Magazine "Health: The Fires Within" by Christine Gorman, Alice Park and Kristina Dell
"Suddenly, inflammation has become one of the hottest areas of medical research. Hardly a week goes by without the publication of yet another study uncovering a new way that chronic inflammation does harm to the body.
It destabilizes cholesterol deposits in the coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks and potentially even strokes. It chews up nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer's victims. It may even foster the proliferation of abnormal cells and facilitate their transformation into cancer. In other words, chronic inflammation may be the engine that drives many of the most feared illnesses of middle and old age."
from "The Facts About Chronic Inflammation: The Modern Epidemic" by Maddie Hamilton
"Scientists stumbled upon a eureka moment in the 1980s when they discovered that chronic inflammation is the only common link between cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease ... and soooo many other diseases out there. When trying to compile a complete list of diseases defined by chronic inflammation, I quickly realized the list would be massive."
Just to drive the point home, below you'll find a list of diseases and conditions that prolonged or "chronic" inflammation can eventually manifest as. More information of each of the diseases and their relationship with inflammation can be found here
Parkinson's, Acne, Acromegaly, Aging, Alzheimer's, Amyloidosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Anemia, Aortic Valve Stenosis, Arthritis, Asthma, Ataxia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cancer, Celiac Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Sarcoidosis, Chronic Venous Disorder, Colitis, Crohn's Disease, Cryoglobulinemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Depression, Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction (ED), Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease, Hodgkin Disease, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Huntington's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Kidney Disease / Renal Failure, Liver Disease, Lupus, Lyme Disease, Migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, Myelitis, Narcolepsy, Neuropathy, Obesity, Pancreatitis, Parkinson's, Poliomyelitis (Polio), Pregnancy Psoriasis, Pulmonary Hypertension, Scleroderma, Sjogren's Syndrome, Sleep Apnea, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Spinal Cord Conditions, Stroke, Tourette's Syndrome and Tuberculosis. |
Having read the about the EPIDEMIC of chronic inflammation, and having looked over the diseases and conditions listed above, you really have to ask yourself, "Should Restless Legs Syndrome be on that list?"
What are the odds it shouldn't?