Did you know that drinking water can help enhance heart health and reduce the risk of heart failure? Are you aware that staying hydrated throughout life can reduce the risk of developing heart failure? If not, read on. Researchers have found some interesting facts about heart health and hydration.
According to research presented at ESC Congress 2021, your heart will be healthier if you drink enough water every day. The author of the study, Dr. Natalia Dmitrieva of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, US, said, “Our study suggests that maintaining good hydration can prevent or at least slow down the changes within the heart that lead to heart failure. The findings indicate that we need to pay attention to the amount of fluid we consume every day and take action if we find that we drink too little.”
According to reliable data, men should drink at least two to three liters of water daily, and women should drink 1.6 to 2 liters. However, global surveys have indicated that many people fail to meet even the lower ends of these ranges.
What Happens If You Drink Less Water?
When you drink less water than the recommended quantity, the concentration of serum sodium increases, and your body starts to conserve water. It leads to the processes that can contribute to heart failure development.
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 Aims of the Study
The study aimed to examine whether serum sodium concentration in middle age can predict the development of heart failure 25 years later. The researchers also examined the connection between the thickening of the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber and hydration. Usually, the thickening of the walls is a precursor to heart failure diagnosis.
In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, the analysis was performed on 15,792 adults who were between the ages of 44 to 66 at the time of recruitment and were evaluated over five visits until age 70 to 90.
During the study, the participants were divided into four groups that were based on their average serum sodium concentration at 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, the researchers then analyzed the proportion of people who developed heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy at visit five (which happened 25 years later).
The researchers found that higher serum sodium concentration in midlife was associated with heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy 25 years later. Serum sodium remained significantly associated with heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy after adjusting for other factors related to the development of heart failure. These factors were blood pressure, age, kidney function, blood cholesterol, body mass index, sex, blood glucose, and smoking status.
Every one 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 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.
Dr. Dmitrieva said: “The results suggest that good hydration throughout life may decrease the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure. In addition, our finding that serum sodium exceeding 142mmol/l increases the risk of adverse effects in the heart may help to identify people who could benefit from an evaluation of their hydration level. This sodium level is within the normal range and would not be labeled as abnormal in lab test results but could be used by physicians during regular physical exams to identify people whose usual fluid intake should be assessed.”
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