Obesity, Diabetes and Economic Status Increase Risk of Urinary Problems

Obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices greatly increase the risk of urinary problems. Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, are also shown to increase risk, and individuals of lower economic standing suffer from urinary problems more often as well.

The study was conducted on 5,506 Boston area residents between 30 and 72 years of age, 58% female and 42% male. 34% were Caucasian, 34% Hispanic and 32% black. Each participant was surveyed for “urological symptoms, other medical conditions, physical characteristics such as weight and waist circumference, education, income and behavioural and psychosocial factors.”

The surveys yielded results that were then separated by sex, then categorized into four distinct female groups and five distinct male groups. According to the study, 75% of the women surveyed reported suffering from at least one of 14 possible urinary problems accounted for in the study, in comparison to 69% of men.

The female groupings went in increasing order of severity. “The majority of the women who reported symptoms (54 per cent) fell into Cluster One which was characterized by storage problems, such as needing to go to the toilet frequently and getting up to go during the night. They had fewer overall symptoms than the women in the other clusters.” Cluster four for females is “where women had the highest number of urological symptoms. Eight per cent of women fell into this cluster.”

After separating the woman into these four groups, it was seen that “the women who experienced symptoms had a higher Body Mass Index than the women who didn’t and this peaked in Cluster Four, where the average BMI was 34.5 and just under 65 per cent were obese.” In addition, women in cluster four were four times more likely to have diabetes than women without urinary problems.

Age played a role, with more elderly women having more symptoms, but not nearly as prominently as in males. It was also concluded for women, that above race, social-economic status was a great contributor to urinary problem incidence. According to the study, “women in Cluster Four were more likely to have a low social economic status.”

The five male clusters also were listed in order of severity. For the men, “eight per cent of the symptomatic men fell into the highest category, Cluster Five, with an average of 10 symptoms per person.” Age played a much larger role for the males in the number of symptoms. “The average age of the men with no symptoms was 44, compared with 59 in Cluster Five,” concluded the study.

The role of race was more identifiable in males as well, where “Cluster Four had the lowest percentage of black and Hispanic men and Hispanic men were also under-represented in Cluster Five.” The strong role of social-economic status was again seen in males as in females. “40 per cent of the men in Cluster Five came from the lowest social economic status group,” which was a disproportionate number.

Lifestyle choices also played a major role for males, where inactive individuals accounted for 54% of cluster five, in comparison to 20% of the individuals with no symptoms. In addition, “men in Clusters Three to Five reported significantly higher levels of diabetes, blood pressure and heart problems,” and 43% of men in cluster five suffered from obesity.

This somewhat broad study indicates the importance of physicians performing comprehensive urological screenings for patients that fall into these high risk categories. Poor health choices, which often lead to conditions like obesity and diabetes, appear to be major contributors to urinary disease. These conditions are most prevalent in low-income brackets, which was also shown to be a high risk group for developing multiple urinary problems.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Whibley, Annette. BJU International news release. May 2008.

Comments are closed.