Urinary Symptoms Aren’t Just a Nuisance
Having trouble going to the bathroom is a common issue for many men over 50. These symptoms, known as lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), can include a weak urine stream and needing to go to the bathroom more often at night.
Most people view these issues as just annoying, but new research says we should take them more seriously.
A study led by Dr. Blayne Welk at Western University in Canada found that men who get effective treatment for these symptoms are less likely to die in the next few years.
A Little Relief Could Mean Longer Life
The research team looked at data from over 3,000 men who were 50 years old or older and had moderate to severe urinary symptoms.
These men were part of a previous study and were either given real medication or a placebo (a sugar pill with no active ingredients).
The team found that men who showed improvement in their symptoms also had a lower risk of dying over an average follow-up period of six years.
Specifically, for each one-point decrease in a standard symptom score, the risk of death decreased by 4%. Men who saw greater improvements in their symptoms had even lower risks.
So, effective treatment didn’t just make day-to-day life easier; it was actually linked to a longer life.
Time for a Treatment Rethink?
This research is the first to focus on whether treating these urinary symptoms can actually lower the risk of dying.
Normally, doctors and patients only consider treatment when the symptoms get really bothersome.
However, these new findings suggest that getting treatment earlier could be a smart move, similar to how we treat slightly high blood pressure early to avoid long-term risks.
While the study didn’t prove that treating symptoms directly causes a lower risk of dying, it does show a strong connection that’s worth looking into.
Plus, the study only looked at a couple of types of medication, so there’s still a lot more to learn about the best way to treat these symptoms.
Dr. Welk and his team conclude that more studies are needed to confirm whether treating urinary issues early on actually reduces the risk of dying.
However, their findings are a heads-up to both healthcare providers and older men: don’t ignore or underestimate urinary symptoms. Addressing them not only improves quality of life but might also add years to it.
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The research findings can be found in the Journal of Urology.
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