New research has found a link between water and a reduced risk of heart failure. According to research presented at ESC Congress 2021, staying hydrated throughout life could reduce the risk of developing heart failure.
Daily fluid intake recommendations range from 1.6 to 2.1 liters for women and 2 to 3 liters for men. However, across the world, people do not consume even the lower ends of these ranges.
When hydration is not reached in the body, the concentration of serum sodium increases. This directs the body to conserve water, activating the process known to contribute to the development of heart failure.
Habitual Fluid Consumption
Studies have shown that serum sodium concentration remains within a narrow range over long periods. Previously, many people had thought that hydration and serum sodium would change day to day depending on water intake. Unfortunately, this is not true, and it is more likely related to habitual fluid consumption.
For this study, researchers examined whether serum sodium concentration in middle age could predict the development of heart failure 25 years later. The connection between hydration and the thickening of the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber was also examined due to it being known as a precursor to heart failure diagnosis.
The study included 15,792 adults who were enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) research group. All participants were between ages 44 to 66 years and were evaluated over five visits until the age 70 to 90.
All participants were divided into four groups based on their serum sodium concentration at the beginning of the study. For each sodium group, the researchers examined the population who developed heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy during the fifth visit, 25 years later.
Researchers concluded that higher serum sodium concentration in mid-life was associated with both heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy 25 years later. These results remained true even after adjusting for other factors, including age, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, body mass index, blood glucose, kidney function, and more.
Study author Dr. Natalia Dmitrieva concluded, “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.”