February is American Heart Month, and that makes it a great time to discuss a condition that’s often associated with heart disease: nocturia. Nocturia simply means nighttime urination, and people who have nocturia wake up frequently in the night to use the bathroom. There are lots of causes for nocturia – diabetes and an enlarged prostate are two common ones.
But nocturia also can be caused by heart disease, or more specifically, heart failure. Heart failure makes it difficult for the body to rid itself of fluid. Lying down improves kidney function, making it easier for the body to get rid of the fluids that have built up during the day. When you lie down to sleep, the enhanced kidney function kicks in, urine production increases and suddenly, your bladder is full – even though you were careful not to drink a lot of fluids before bed.
In fact, nocturia can occur in the absence of other factors, like drinking before bed or enlarged prostate. This can be one of the early warning signs that a person may be experiencing the initial stages of heart failure.
The link between nocturia and heart health may be even more complex. Because nocturia results in wakefulness during the night, it impairs a person’s ability to get a good, restorative night’s sleep. Several studies have linked poor sleep with an increase in heart disease, as well as other problems like diabetes and even obesity.
Seeing a doctor is the most important step you can take if you begin experiencing nocturia. Your doctor can perform a complete exam and evaluation to help pinpoint possible causes that could lead to the diagnosis of another underlying condition like heart disease, prostate disease, diabetes or even cancer.
Remember: Bladder issues like nocturia and incontinence are not a “normal” part of the aging process; if you have any concerns about your bladder function, schedule an evaluation at the Incontinence Institute so you can feel confident about your health.
Give us a call, 1.800.771.1953 and schedule an appointment today. If you are in the Franklin, Tenn., area, Dr. Barry Jarnagin is available. Dr. Melissa Kaufman is available to see patients in the Nashville area who are suffering from conditions such as overactive bladder syndrome, irritable bladder or incontinence.