Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Migraines, Restless Leg Syndrome and Depression May Be Associated

Migraines may be associated with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), according to results of a study conducted in Germany. The cause may be with a chemical imbalance of dopamine in the brain. The occurence of Restless Leg Syndrome increases to a peak at age 65 years and then decreases. Family history is seen in 50% of patients with Restless Leg Syndrom and family history is also prevalent for patients with migraine. Patients with migraine are three times more likely to have depression. Depression has also been associated with Restless Leg Syndrome.

In this study, patients with migraine and RLS were older and had longer length to each migraine episode. They also had a higher score on depression scales. The authors concluded that there was an association between RLS and migraine and a possible co-association with depression.

Older persons with depression rarely seek treatment for the illness. Unrecognized and untreated depression may result in suicide if untreated. The highest rate of suicide in the US is among older white men.

Symptoms in older persons may differ somewhat from symptoms in other populations. Depression in older people often appears as memory problems, confusion, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, irritability, and, in some cases, delusions and hallucinations. Older depressed individuals often have severe feelings of sadness, but these feelings frequently are not acknowledged or openly shown. Sometimes, when asked if they are "depressed", the answer from persons suffering from depression is "no".

More older adults are apt to seek treatment for physical ailments than they are with symptoms of depression alone. Restless leg syndrom and migraines may be the reason an individual will seek medical treatment.

As a caregiver, it is helpful to point out the symptoms of depression, if seen, to assist the doctor in prescribing treatment for the entire list of symptoms of migraines, RLS, and depression. Treatment protocols often include a combination of drugs to treat coexisting conditions.

Source : Reuters Health Information