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Research finds hydration supports a healthy heart

New research finds that drinking adequate fluids in mid life may help prevent heart problems in old age.

Research finds hydration supports a healthy heart

Staying well-hydrated throughout life could reduce the risk of developing heart failure, according to research recently presented at European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021.

“Our study suggests that maintaining good hydration can prevent, or at least slow down, the changes within the heart that lead to heart failure,” said study author Dr Natalia Dmitrieva of the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Recommendations on daily fluid 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.

Serum sodium is a precise measure of hydration status: when people drink less fluid, 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 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 researchers also examined the connection between hydration and thickening of the left ventricle which is a precursor to heart failure diagnosis.

The analysis was performed in 15,792 adults aged 44-66 at recruitment, who were evaluated over five visits until age 70-90. They were divided into four groups based on their average serum sodium concentration: 135–139.5, 140–141.5, 142–143.5, and 144–146 mmol/l. For each sodium group, the researchers then analysed the proportion of people who developed heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy 25 years later. Higher serum sodium concentration in midlife was associated with both heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy 25 years later. Every 1 mmol/l increase in serum sodium concentration in midlife was associated with 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 70-90 began to increase when serum sodium exceeded 142 mmol/l in midlife.

Dr Dmitrieva said: “The results suggest that good hydration throughout life may decrease the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure.”

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