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CVD factors, especially high blood pressure, may increase risk of severe urge incontinence

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Patients with cardiovascular risk factors are more likely to also experience urgency urinary incontinence (UUI), according to UK researchers.

They also said their study findings indicated that severe urgency UUI was a “distinct disease” from milder forms of the condition.

“These results suggest vascular risk factors, in particular hypertension, may contribute towards UUI”

Study authors

The researchers, from University College London and King’s College London, looked at data on 1,762 participants in a Medical Research Council survey who reported having incontinence at the age of 68. The prevalence of urinary incontinence was 15% in men and 54% in women.

UUI was the most common subtype in men, while there were similar proportions of UUI and stress urinary incontinence in women, with it being reported by 12% of men and 19% of women.

The researchers concluded that being female, a previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and increased body mass index were risk factors for UUI. Hypertension was also a risk factor in men only.

“Stronger associations were found between these risk factors and UUI if severe UUI was reported,” said the researchers in the journal BJU International.

“Our results seem to support more severe symptoms to be a distinct disease from milder UUI”

Alex Tsui

They said: “For those with milder symptoms, the associations were weaker, except for the negative association with educational attainment. In women, no associations were found between UUI symptoms and menopause or HRT use,” they said.

“Taken together, these results suggest that vascular risk factors, in particular hypertension, may contribute towards UUI pathophysiology in addition to previous stroke/TIA, raised BMI, female sex and co-presentation with stress urinary incontinence,” they said.

Lead author Dr Alex Tsui, from University College London, said: “Although higher BMI was known to contribute to UUI, our findings suggest this may be related to vascular risk factors, in addition to the mechanical contributions of increased body mass.”

He added: “Our results also seem to support more severe UUI symptoms to be a distinct disease entity from milder UUI.”

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