Urinary Knowledge Study (U-KNOW)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Urinary urgency and incontinence (UUI) is extremely common and burdensome and most patients never seek treatment. The mean age of MESA participants at the 15 year follow-up exam will be between 70-75 years, and in this age group, prevalence of UUI exceeds 30% in women and 10% in men. The annual cost of UUI exceeds 26 billion dollars annually with these costs largely paid by the patient since Medicare and private insurance carriers do not cover the costs of underwear pads or other incontinence products. Most patients feel embarrassed to purchase incontinence products and do not feel comfortable discussing UUI with their physician. In fact, the overwhelming majority of patients with UUI never seek treatment.1 The Urinary KNOWledge study (U-KNOW) will utilize the 15-year follow-up visit for the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis to quantify UUI prevalence, severity and bother in men and women across four racial/ethnic groups and determine the impact of UUI on self-management of hypertension, the most common medical condition in which diuretics would be prescribed. At the year 15 exam, we will collect information on UUI prevalence, severity and bother using standardized questionnaires. Participants will also complete questionnaires that query their ability to self- manage their hypertension and whether incontinence interferes with prescribed diuretic use. Each participant will also provide a serum sample for measurement of total and bioavailable 25[OH]D levels. Among participants who do not report any current urinary tract infection or treatment for a urinary tract infection over the past month, we will collect a spot urine specimen and determine whether bacteria are present and if present, the type of bacteria present. We anticipate that men and women with incontinence will have lower scores for self- management of hypertension and will have higher prevalence of non-compliance with diuretic medications. We also anticipate that total and bioavailable vitamin D levels will be lower in men and women with incontinence compared to men and women without incontinence. The proportion of men and women with detectable bacteria in the urine will also differ by presence of incontinence. The overall goal of UKNOW is to provide data that will facilitate a dialogue between clinicians and patients regarding the impact of UUI on health, especially hypertension management, and to examine novel potential UUI risk factors for development of future clinical trials.
Effective start/end date8/25/165/31/20


  • Loyola University Chicago (206423 // 5R01DK104842-03)
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (206423 // 5R01DK104842-03)


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