Drinking too much liquid before bed may result in an unwanted trip to the toilet before morning, but some people find they have to make trips even if they’re careful about how much they drink. These annoying midnight bathroom excursions may be an unexpected warning sign of high blood pressure, according to a new study, and may point to a second common health issue, as well.
High blood pressure is known as ‘the silent killer’ due to the often asymptomatic experience many people have. Though the health issue may present some symptoms, they’re often easily ignored or mistaken for something else, enabling the condition to persist until it has caused serious damage.
According to the CDC, around one out of every three Americans have high blood pressure but only a little over half of patients have the condition under control. A big issue in treating the disease is first detecting it — most people don’t realize they have it and therefore don’t make the lifestyle adjustments necessary to lower it.
A study out of Japan has identified one unexpected potential high blood pressure symptom that may help potential sufferers realize they the condition: nighttime bathroom trips. The medical term for this nocturnal activity is ‘nocturia’ and researchers linked it to high blood pressure, as well as water retention. Though an occasional episode of nocturia isn’t unusual, repeated instances may indicate that visiting one’s doctor is in order.
The study involved 3,749 people in Japan who had received an annual physical in 2017. Of the patients who had high blood pressure, researchers found a strong link with nocturia, which is considered one or more trips to the bathroom at night. Higher numbers of nighttime toilet trips were associated with a significant increase in high blood pressure risk.
Though an association between the two was found, researchers caution that the findings may not be applicable to populations outside of Japan, where salt intake is more than double the global average with an established link to high blood pressure and fluid retention.