Maximizing Heart Health for Urologic Health

April 07,2023 |
Two people jogging outdoors

If you want to be healthy, you need to be proactive about your choices. You can’t expect to eat processed foods, live a sedentary life, and see the same results as someone who exercises regularly and eats a nutritious diet. Maintaining good health requires a multifaceted approach. You need to do things that are good for your body, mind, and soul, which can be overwhelming at first. Luckily, several areas of the body are interconnected, so the benefits of one healthy action can be far reaching. One such example of this is the relationship between heart health and urologic health. Although two completely different systems, there is a strong link between them, and poor heart health can lead to several urologic issues. Here, we’ll describe the link between the two and how to maximize heart health for urologic health.


Understanding the Link Between Heart Health and Urologic Health

Although further research is still being done on this matter, heart health and urologic health are closely interconnected. What researchers do know is that things like high cholesterol, obesity, low blood pressure, and heart disease tend to correlate with certain urologic conditions like incontinence, overactive bladder, kidney stones, and more. Heart health also has a direct impact on reproductive organs, especially in men.

This makes sense if you think about it, as the heart is the powerhouse of all bodily functions. Heart disease tends to reduce blood flow, which can lead to kidney damage. This, in turn can cause urinary tract infections and other urologic problems. It also lowers the amount of blood that reaches the pelvic region, which could result in erectile dysfunction or decreased sexual desire. Simply put, healthy blood flow is essential for a healthy urinary tract and healthy reproductive organs.


Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart

Conversely, maintaining good heart health can have a positive impact on urologic health. A healthy heart supports strong blood flow to the pelvic region, which can promote strong sexual function and urologic health. Luckily, many of the lifestyle habits that are beneficial for heart health, such as regular exercise and healthy eating, can also support optimal urologic function. To help maintain good cardiovascular health, consider some of the following lifestyle changes.


Practice Healthy Eating Habits

Everything that you consume can either help you or hurt you, but the biggest thing to remember is that moderation is key. You don’t have to eat 100% clean, 100% of the time, but following an 80/20 rule can have some impressive benefits. To eat for heart health, try to maintain a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You should also limit or avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excess sodium.


Exercise Regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity is the key to strengthening your heart and cardiovascular health. Aerobic exercise also has a direct impact on several urologic conditions such as erectile dysfunction, incontinence, and even overactive bladder. Try to incorporate a mix of exercises you love to stay motivated. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week and two or more days of strength training per week.


Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of heart disease and urologic conditions substantially, so it's important to maintain a healthy weight. Luckily, by eating a balanced, nutritious diet and getting the recommended amount of exercise, this becomes easier. Losing excess weight can be difficult for some, so talk to your doctor about recommendations to support your journey.


Avoid Unhealthy Habits

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can both have negative effects on heart health, so it's important to avoid or limit these habits. Smoking also has a strong impact on urologic health and alcohol can irritate several urologic conditions. If you smoke, try to quit, and limit your alcohol consumption to maximize long-term health.


Manage Stress

Chronic stress can also have negative effects on heart health. Stress can cause high blood pressure and increase the likelihood of engaging in other unhealthy habits. Therefore, try to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation or yoga. If you’re not sure how to address chronic stress, consider seeing a professional for help.


Strategies to Boost Urologic Health

While the activities that help strengthen your heart can also improve your urologic system, there are additional measures you can take to target specific issues. Some of these include the following:


Kegel Exercises

Kegels are one of the best ways to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and help support healthy urologic functions. They target all the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum, and are responsible for controlling urinary and bowel functions, as well as sexual function.

Performing Kegel exercises involves squeezing the pelvic floor muscles as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine, holding for a few seconds, and then releasing. These exercises can be done discreetly at any time, and do not require any special equipment. Try to do at least three sets of 10 to 15 Kegels per day. In addition to their urologic benefits, Kegel exercises can also improve overall core strength, posture, and stability.


Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration is important for overall health, but it’s particularly important for your urologic system. When you’re dehydrated, urine increases in concentration, which can irritate the bladder and urethra. This can lead to several urologic conditions and symptoms.

Hydration is essential for a healthy urinary tract. Although water is the best choice, other fluids like herbal tea and sugar-free beverages can also be consumed. Aim for about eight to 10 cups of water per day so that your urine is a pale, translucent yellowish color. Foods with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries, can also help keep the body hydrated.


Regular Urologic Checkups

You should also make it a habit to regularly see your urologist. This can help prevent or identify potential problems early on. Urologic checkups usually involve a physical exam, a review of your family health history, diagnostic testing (if symptoms are present), and a discussion about long-term health and lifestyle habits.

During a urologic checkup, your urologist may also screen for conditions such as prostate cancer, bladder cancer, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections. The frequency of urologic checkups can vary depending on individual risk factors and medical history. For example, individuals with a history of urologic issues or a family history of urologic conditions may need more frequent checkups.

In general, it's recommended that men over the age of 40 receive a yearly urologic exam, as this is the age when prostate cancer becomes more common. However, men with certain risk factors or symptoms may need to be screened earlier or more frequently.

Women may also benefit from regular urologic checkups, or from seeing a urogynecologist. This is especially important if they have a history of urinary tract infections, pelvic pain, or other urologic issues. Women may also need urologic checkups during pregnancy or menopause.


All the habits that should be done to maintain good heart health will also positively impact your urologic health. A balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and avoidance of substances or cigarettes will do wonders to improve the quality of your life.

However, if you need to make some changes, try to focus on one thing at a time and don’t overdo it. If you’re not used to exercising, don’t set a goal to hit the gym six days a week. Instead, go for a daily walk or try to get up and move at least once an hour. Once this gets easier, then add a day at the gym or a class. The same goes for eating habits. Slowly incorporate more vegetables and fruits while decreasing the number of processed foods. Find nutritious recipes that you love and try not to completely restrict yourself. This will help you stay on track and reduce the likelihood that you abandon healthy habits.

Finally, if you have any symptoms of heart disease or a urologic condition, always see your doctor to undergo a personalized treatment plan. This is the only way to ensure that you’re engaging in activities tailored to your unique body. For management of temporary or chronic urologic issues, Byram Healthcare is here. We carry a wide selection of high-quality incontinence products that can help you take back control of your life. To learn more, or to speak with a professional regarding incontinence questions and ongoing management, contact Byram Healthcare today.

Byram Healthcare is a member of the National Association for Continence’s Trusted Partners Program, whose mission is to provide quality continence care through education, collaboration and advocacy. We continue to build partnerships in the clinical community to ensure we focus on what’s best for the patient.