The number of trips to the bathroom we make to urinate each night could have more health implications than once thought.
While urinating several times throughout the night can hint at kidney, bladder or prostate issues, new research suggests that it could also be a sign of high blood pressure.
These research findings were presented this March at the 83rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Circulation Society.
The research enrolled 3,749 Japanese participants and tracked their blood pressure and self-reported number of times needing to get up to urinate during the night.
People with blood pressure above 140 / 90 mmHg or higher, or those prescribed anti-hypertensive medications, were classified as having high blood pressure.
The researchers found that people with high blood pressure were more likely to need to get up throughout the night to urinate.
Also, with each additional time a person had to get up to urinate during the night, the greater their chance of having high blood pressure was.
“Our study indicates that if you need to urinate in the night — called nocturia — you may have elevated blood pressure and/or excess fluid in your body,” said study author Dr. Satoshi Konno from Tohoku Rosai Hospital, Sendai, Japan.
“We found that getting up in the night to urinate was linked to a 40 per cent greater chance of having hypertension,” said Dr. Konno.
“And the more visits to the toilet, the greater the risk of hypertension.”
It is worth noting that the participants of the study were all Japanese and it is mentioned by Dr. Kono that, on average, the salt intake of Japanese people (10 g/day) is higher than the global average.
He suggests that the intake of salt among Japanese people could influence how the results of this study can be applied to the other countries and cultures.
As far as what can be done about urinating at night excessively, Dr. Kono suggested to talk with your doctor and also ask them to check your blood pressure.
The Heart And Stroke Foundation of Canada recognizes high blood pressure as the leading risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart attack.
Blood pressure can be managed through many natural means including weight loss, diet changes, exercise, stress management and specific nutrient supplementation.
Do you have questions about managing or preventing high blood pressure? Ask your naturopathic doctor.
Dr. Colin MacLeod ND is a naturopathic doctor practicing full-time in Upper Tantallon at MacLeod Naturopathic. His practice focuses on pain management and maintaining health through physical activity and diet. Visit him online at drcolinmacleod.com.