Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Water helps in getting rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements, it also controls temperature and lubricates bone joints. So, proper hydration is important for the body to work properly.
Water is also critical for heart health. As the heart is constantly working, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood a day. By staying hydrated, we can support the heart to do its job.
Recommendations on daily water intake vary from 1.6 to 2.1 litres for women and 2 to 3 litres for men. However, worldwide surveys have shown that many people do not meet even the lower ends of these ranges.
Dehydration occurs when more fluid is lost than consumed. Dehydration can negatively affect our organs and bodily functions, including our heart and cardiovascular system.
In dehydration, the amount of blood circulating through our body decreases. To compensate this, our heart beats faster, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure. Those at risk for dehydration are the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, children, and athletes.
Signs of dehydration include:
Water Intake and Heart Failure
A new study examined whether serum sodium concentration in middle age, as a measure of hydration habits can predict the development of heart failure 25 years later.
They also examined the connection between hydration and thickening of the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) called left ventricular hypertrophy, which is a precursor to heart failure.
Serum sodium is a precise measure of hydration status. When less amount of water is consumed, the concentration of serum sodium increases. The body then attempts to conserve water, activating processes known to contribute to the development of heart failure.
Dr. Dmitrieva of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, US said: “It is natural to think that hydration and serum sodium should change day to day depending on how much we drink on each day. However, serum sodium concentration remains within a narrow range over long periods, which is likely related to habitual fluid consumption.”
The analysis was performed in 15,792 adults in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Participants were 44 to 66 years old at recruitment and were evaluated over five visits until age 70 to 90.
Participants were divided into four groups based on their average serum sodium concentration at study visits one and two (conducted in the first three years): 135-139.5, 140-141.5, 142-143.5, and 144-146 mmol/l.
For each sodium group, researchers then analyzed the proportion of people who developed heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy at visit five (25 years later).
The study results showed that for every 1 mmol/l increase in serum sodium concentration in midlife there was 1.20 and 1.11 increased odds of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure, respectively, 25 years later.
The risks of both left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure at age 70 to 90 began to increase when serum sodium exceeded 142 mmol/l in midlife.
The results of the new study suggest that good hydration throughout life may decrease the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure.
A serum sodium level exceeding 142mmol/l increases the risk of adverse effects in the heart, this may help identify people who could benefit from an evaluation of their hydration level.
Top Tips to Stay Hydrated
It is essential to stay hydrated, especially if you have a heart condition.
- Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated.
- Avoid common triggers for dehydration like strenuous exercise, or alcohol
- Monitor for dehydration signs
- Consume water-rich fruits (watermelon, strawberries) and vegetables (cucumbers, leafy greens)
- The Importance of Water – (https://theheartfoundation.org/2019/03/08/the-importance-of-water/)
- Dehydration – (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/9013-dehydration)