Staying well-hydrated may be the key to preventing heart issues.
Health experts often champion the benefits of drinking at least eight glasses of water per day. But it seems that maintaining hydration not only aids general wellbeing, but potentially also reduces the risk of people developing heart failure.
"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 U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "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."
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.
For the study, Dr. Dmitrieva and her team examined whether serum sodium concentration in middle age, as a measure of hydration habits, predicts the development of heart failure 25 years later, and also looked at the connection between hydration and the thickening of the walls of the heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle) - which is a precursor to heart failure diagnosis.
"The results suggest that good hydration throughout life may decrease the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure," she added.
Full study results were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021.