The prevalence and severity of nocturia, or awakening at least once at night to urinate, tends to increase with age.

Naturally, with increased awakening events come poorer sleep, a perceived poorer quality of life, and increased mortality. The deleterious effects of nocturia are likely due to an association with other comorbid systemic diseases like cardiac disease, depression, and renal disease.

A recent study from the Mayo Clinic found that moderate nocturia (two episodes or more per night) in men younger than 60 years portended to a higher likelihood of developing heart disease later in life, according to a report in BJU International (2012;110:848-853).

The association was thought to be the result of disordered cardiovascular system hemostasis. Of note, the association of nocturia and heart disease was attenuated when adjusting for body mass index (BMI). Elevated BMI is a significant risk factor for eventual development of heart disease, making nocturia a potentially important marker.