New research finds that, among patients over 60 years old, there is a strong association between consumption of alcoholic beverages and nocturnal leg cramps.
In a case control study in France, 140 general practice patients with and without leg cramps were administered a food frequency questionnaire. Researchers found an association between global consumption of alcoholic beverages and nocturnal leg cramps. Patients drinking alcohol at least once a week had an odds ratio of 6.5 of suffering from nocturnal leg cramps.
There was no linear relationship between amount of alcohol consumed and odds of leg cramps. In light of the negative effect that nocturnal leg cramps have on patients’ quality of sleep and quality of life, the authors call for additional research to evaluate the existence of a causal link and to determine the pathophysiology of leg cramps and alcohol’s impact on them.
The findings are published in the Annals of Family Medicine.