HONG KONG, June 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — To mark the World Continence Week, Hong Kong Practicing Specialists Network (HKPSN) today announced the results of a recent survey on the public’s awareness of OAB. OAB is a common urological condition that affects 1 in 7 people in Hong Kong.[1] However, the survey results revealed that more than half (54%) of Hongkongers have not heard of the condition.
Conducted online this April by an independent research agency, the survey polled 1,036 people in Hong Kong aged between 20 and 54. Key findings include:

Over half (54%) of the respondents have not heard of OAB although majority (83%) of them are aware of one or more bladder-related symptoms.[2] Awakening several times in the night to urinate and the sudden urge to urinate are the two most known symptoms mentioned.[2] 
67% of the respondents mention embarrassment and worry as psychological/emotional impacts faced by a person experiencing bladder-related symptoms.[3]
More than half of respondents (57%) believe that patients should make lifestyle changes such as limit fluid intake, avoid socializing, and avoid long road trips to alleviate bladder-related symptoms.[4]
Among the respondents, aged 45-54, although 88% of them are aware of the symptoms,[2] around 35% of them are unware of seeking medical advice is an effective way of managing the condition.[4]

OAB significantly affects patients’ quality of life and impacts patients’ emotional wellbeing
"OAB is a common urological condition greatly affects an individual’s physical and social functioning, including work, sleep, sexual relationships and interpersonal relationship," says Dr. Kenneth Fu Kam Fung, Convener of the HKPSN. "Because of the symptom frequency, OAB patients usually reduce fluid intake and limit daily activity to avoid the discomfort, impacting their quality of life."
Characterised by urinary urgency, with or without urinary incontinence, and usually with urinary frequency and nocturia, OAB affects both men and women. The overall prevalence of OAB ranged from 12% to 36% according to different studies[5] and it increases with age in both sexes.[5] In Hong Kong, the prevalence of OAB was 14.5% according to a survey done in 2009.[1]
"The cause of OAB is not well defined. It may be due to the lower urinary tract that cannot perform the function properly and thus patient experience multiple symptoms," says Dr. Fu.
OAB also affects patients’ emotional wellbeing. Results of the survey show that most respondents believe patients with bladder-related symptoms face psychological or emotional challenges, where embarrassment and worry are mentioned by most respondents.[3] "Patients usually feel embarrassed and don’t want to discuss the matter with their family or friends. They often limit their daily activities, avoid family trips. This puts a strain on their relationship with family," Dr. Fu comments.
Family members of patients with OAB also experience great physical and emotional suffering
OAB may cause unpleasant experiences to family members caring for patients with the symptoms. A sense of powerlessness, helplessness, confusion and guilt, as well as grievances and social withdrawal is prevalent among caregivers. This may cause great physical and emotional suffering and subsequent physical and emotional burnout.[6]
"For caregivers, negative experiences are often caused by confusion regarding caretaking duties. Negative emotions of both patients and their family members are also likely to be caused by a lack of communication and understanding about the disease," comments Dr. Fu. "Therefore, it is important to raise awareness of OAB and its impacts on patients and their family members, and to provide them with the support they need."
Treatment options for OAB include medication, surgery and adjunct therapy. Medication is key in managing OAB, which helps alleviate OAB symptoms and thus patients can have a better quality of life. Dr. Fu points out, "People should not ignore OAB. It is a condition needs to be treated just like any other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Seeing a doctor and seeking correct diagnosis is important; it can help patients get proper and early treatment."
Hold On to More Campaign to Raise Awareness of OAB and lend support to patients and caregivers
During the World Continence Week, Hong Kong Practicing Specialists Network is launching an educational campaign "Hold On To More" to support patients and caregivers coping with OAB. The campaign features an educational website (www.holdontomore.hk) to provide information and resources. People experiencing bladder-related symptoms such as urinary urgency are encouraged to visit the website and take a simple self-assessment and discuss with their doctors about treatment options.
References:

[1]
Chan CK, et al. 2010 HK OAB Survey. ICS 000377

[2]
2018 OAB Awareness Survey Results: Awareness of bladder-related symptoms

[3]
2018 OAB Awareness Survey Results: Psychological/emotional impacts

[4]
 2018 OAB Awareness Survey Results: Ways of alleviating/treating bladder-related symptoms

[5]
Chan NH. Challenges in management of overactive bladder in the elderly. CME Bulletin September 2017

[6]
Siu JY. Coping with patients suffering from overactive bladder: experiences of family caregivers in Hong Kong. Health Soc Care Community. 2017 Jan;25(1):83-91

About the OAB Awareness Survey
To gain the varying levels of public understanding of OAB, Hong Kong Practicing Specialists Network commissioned an independent third-party research agency (YouGov) to conduct the OAB Awareness Survey. Fieldwork took place in April 2018, among 1,036 people surveyed (male 584 and female 482), quotas were set on gender and age to ensure a breakdown within the sample adults age 20-24, 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54.
About Hong Kong Practicing Specialists Network
Founded in 2014, the Hong Kong Practicing Specialists Network (HKPSN) is a healthcare professionals’ network formed for medical and health education and communication. The mission of HKPSN is to increase public awareness on seeking medical specialists’ advice in the earlier stage of treatment to avoid missing critical treatment period. The organization is committed to provide cutting-edge of professional medical information and services to the citizens of Hong Kong.
About "Hold On To More"
"Hold On To More" is a campaign to support patients and caregivers coping with OAB. It features an educational website (www.holdontomore.hk) to provide information and resources. People experiencing bladder-related symptoms such as urinary urgency are encouraged to visit the website and take a simple self-assessment and discuss with their doctors about treatment options.
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