Incontinence and Diabetes

February 3, 2015

By tbrand

Woman Exercise StepperFebruary is known as the “Heart Month” for the celebrations of Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month.  Tranquility wants to show our heartfelt appreciation for all those who love our products!

Strokes and Diabetes are both heart-related health issues with incontinence accompanying these conditions. Tranquility’s superior performance effectively manages the incontinence that may be a result of a stroke or diabetes.  We hope you will find these articles containing tips for managing incontinence and resources for health-related issues to be helpful.

We wish you a heart-healthy February!

By: Melissa Napier, MS, BSN

Incontinence is not often the easiest subject to talk about with loved ones or even our doctor. Urinary or fecal incontinence affects 23 million Americans and can lead to embarrassment, isolation, and even depression.   The prevalence of diabetes, at 30 million Americans, is rising steadily as our population is more sedentary, has poor dietary habits, and is aging.   People with diabetes, are more likely to develop issues with incontinence and develop more severe incontinence.

Causes. Several physiological factors are responsible.  High blood sugar pulls fluid away from tissues and increases urine output which increases thirst.  Over Active Bladder (OAB). As urine production increases, so does daytime and night time frequency and urgency (having to go right now.)    Also, over time, diabetes can cause nerve damage, including those nerves in the bladder and bowel.   The muscles of the bladder can also weaken, making it difficult to empty the bladder completely, and increasing the chance of a urinary tract infection (UTI).  60% of patients with diabetes experience constipation which also can also make bladder emptying difficult. Diabetes can lead to other cardiovascular problems like congestive heart failure (CHF) or stroke. Together with mobility issues or cognitive impairment from dementia, all can increase the incidence and severity of incontinence.

Medications. Many medications used to treat these conditions further aggravate the problem.  Diuretics increase urine production, and ACE inhibitors (high blood pressure) often cause a cough that can lead to stress incontinence. Calcium channel blockers can make it difficult to empty the bladder.

Prevention. Preventing diabetes by losing weight, increasing activity, and improving diet will help maintain overall health and can even prevent the onset or severity of incontinence. Work with your health care provider to get started on a “healthy you” program. Diabetes often goes hand in hand with obesity, high blood pressure, and problems with cholesterol, so lifestyle changes now can ensure you improve your overall health and well-being.  For those with obesity, lowering weight can significantly reduce the risk of incontinence.

Treatment.  See your doctor!  As a team, explore the use of medications, bladder re-training, increasing pelvic muscle tone through exercises (Kegels), and, after conservative measures have failed surgery, are all treatments for incontinence.  Maintaining continence as long as possible can lessen the embarrassment, social isolation, and depression associated with the condition. Finally, make sure you are using a high-quality product that suits your individual needs.  Take the quiz on this website or call our dedicated customer service representatives to find which product will work best and to request a free sample.  If you have any questions, email our clinical team and we would be glad to help!

Melissa Napier, MS, BSN and Jennifer Roe, BSN   Clinical Consultants