Twenty four young (mean age 29.2 years, range 25-35) and 21 elderly (mean age 66.5, range 60-80) healthy subjects collected their urine in timed aliquots over 24 hours. The elderly subjects had been selected for their fitness by clinical and laboratory examinations and all lived independently at home. Sodium and potassium excretions were reduced in the elderly subjects compared with the young subjects, potassium excretion considerably so. This was despite similar 24 hour urine volumes and total solute excretion by both groups. The ratios of rates of excretion of water, electrolytes, and solutes during the night to the rates of excretion during the day were found to be higher in the elderly than the young subjects. Reduced day to night ratios of urinary excretion may be partly responsible for complaints of nocturia and sleep disturbance in elderly people.
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