Researchers have found that drinking enough water and staying hydrated can reduce the risk of serious heart problems in the future. The findings of the research were published in the ‘European Heart Journal’.
Heart failure, a chronic condition that develops when the heart does not pump enough blood for the body’s needs, affects more than 6.2 million Americans, a little over 2 percent of the population. It is also more common in adults 65 years of age and older. “Similar to reducing salt intake, drinking enough water and staying hydrated are ways to support our heart and may help reduce long-term risk for heart disease,” says Natalia Dmitrieva, PhD, lead study author and a The researcher said. Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the NIH.
After conducting preclinical research that suggested an association between dehydration and cardiac fibrosis, a hardening of the heart muscle, Dmitrieva and researchers looked for similar associations in large-scale population studies. They began by analyzing data from more than 15,000 adults aged 45-66 who enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study between 1987 and 1989 and shared information from medical visits over a 25-year period.
In selecting the participants for the retrospective review, the scientists focused on those whose hydration levels were within the normal range and did not suffer from diabetes, obesity or heart failure at the start of the study. About 11,814 adults were included in the final analysis, and of those, the researchers found that 1,366 (11.56 percent) later developed heart failure.
To assess a possible relationship with hydration, the team assessed the hydration status of participants using a number of clinical measures. Looking at serum sodium levels, which increase as body fluid levels decrease, was particularly useful in helping to identify participants at risk of developing heart failure. It helped older adults at increased risk of developing both heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy, an enlargement and thickening of the heart.
For example, adults with serum sodium levels starting at 143 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) — a normal range is 135-146 mEq/L — are more likely to develop heart failure than adults in midlife. There was a percentage associated risk. lower level. And for every 1 mEq/L increase in serum sodium within the normal range of 135–146 mEq/L, a participant’s chance of heart failure increased by 5 percent.
In a group of nearly 5,000 adults aged 70–90, those with a serum sodium level of 142.5–143 mEq/L in middle age were 62 percent more likely to develop left ventricular hypertrophy. Serum sodium levels starting at 143 mEq/L correlated with a 102% increased risk for left ventricular hypertrophy and a 54 percent increased risk for heart failure.
Based on these data, the authors concluded that serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L in middle age are associated with an increased risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure later in life. The researchers said a randomized, controlled trial would be necessary to confirm these preliminary findings.
However, these early associations suggest that good hydration may help prevent or slow the progression of changes within the heart that can lead to heart failure. “Serum sodium and fluid intake can be easily assessed in clinical examinations and help doctors identify patients who may benefit from learning about ways to stay hydrated, Manfred Boehm, MD, who leads the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine, said. Fluids are essential for many bodily functions, including helping the heart to pump blood efficiently, supporting blood vessel function, and regulating circulation. Yet many people take far less than they need, the researchers said.