Drinking enough water each day may reduce your long-term risk for heart failure

Drinking enough water each day may reduce your long-term risk for heart failure By  for Natural Medicine

A new study has found that maintaining good hydration may reduce a person’s long-term risk for heart failure.

In other words, consuming sufficient fluids is not only important for keeping most essential body functions healthy in everyday life, it also may reduce a person’s risk of experiencing severe heart problems in the future. (Related: Don’t forget to drink water when you exercise! Hydration is key to boosting performance.)

The study was conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health and was published late last month in the peer-reviewed European Heart Journal.

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Heart failure affects about 6.2 million adults in the United States, or a little over two percent of the population, with adults over the age of 65 being the most likely to experience it.

In 2018, heart failure was mentioned as the main cause of death for nearly 380,000 people. In 2012, the costs of heart failure, from the price of healthcare services, medicines to treat it and missed days of work, accounted for an estimated $30.7 billion.

Before beginning the research, lead study author Natalia Dmitrieva of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the NHLBI, led her team in conducting preclinical research.

During this phase, the team found potential connections between dehydration and cardiac fibrosis, or the hardening of the heart muscles, which led them to explore this connection.

Hydration levels in middle age a significant determining factor in future risk of heart failure

Dmitrieva and her team decided to conduct a retrospective review focusing on those whose hydration levels were considered within a normal range and did not have heart failure or diabetes and were not obese at the beginning of the study.

They found 11,814 adults who fit this description and included them in the final analysis. Of those study subjects, the researchers found that 1,366 – or 11.56 percent – later developed heart failure.

The researchers then proceeded to assess the hydration status of the participants. To do this, they looked at their serum sodium levels. This increases as the body’s fluid levels decrease and the researchers noted that it is very useful in identifying study subjects that have an increased risk of developing heart failure.

Serum sodium levels also helped them identify older adults with an increased risk of developing not just heart failure but also left ventricular hypertrophy, or the enlargement and thickening of the heart.

The normal range of serum sodium in adults is between 135 to 146 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Adults with 143 mEq/L in midlife had a 39 percent increased risk for developing heart failure compared to adults with lower levels of serum sodium.

The researchers found that, for every 1 mEq/L increase in serum sodium within the normal range, the likelihood of a person developing heart failure increased by five percent.

In a cohort of about 5,000 adults between the ages of 70 and 90, those who had serum sodium levels of 142.5 to 143 mEq/L at middle age were found to be 62 percent more likely to develop left ventricular hypertrophy. Serum sodium levels that go no lower than 143 mEq/L correlated with a 102 percent increased risk for left ventricular hypertrophy and a 54 percent increased risk for heart failure.

Based on these findings, the authors believe serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L in middle age are associated with increased risks of left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure later in life. The researchers recommended a daily fluid intake of six to eight cups (0.4 to 0.55 gallons) for women and eight to 12 cups (0.53 to 0.79 gallons) for men.

Dr. Manfred Boehm, who leads the NHLBI’s Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine noted that people interested in learning their optimum fluid intake should talk to their trusted health practitioners. Clinical exams can also help them learn their serum sodium levels.

The researchers added that future studies wanting to explore the link further should conduct a randomized, controlled trial to confirm their preliminary findings. However, the early associations discovered in this study strongly suggest that good hydration may help either slow or outright prevent the progression of potentially deadly changes within the heart.

Learn More – Natural Medicine

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