Staying well-hydrated throughout life could reduce the risk of developing heart failure, according to research by the National Institutes of Health presented at ESC Congress 2021.
The daily fluid intake recommendations for women range from 1.6 to 2.1 liters and 2 to 3 liters for men, according to the study. However, many people do not meet even the lower ends of these ranges, according to global polls.
As people drink less water, their serum sodium concentration rises. The body then tries to preserve water by activating processes that have been linked to the development of 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. 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,” said the study author Dr. Natalia Dmitrieva of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, US.
The study looked at whether serum sodium content in middle age predicts the development of heart failure 25 years later as a measure of hydration habits. The researchers also checked the link between hydration and the swelling of the walls of the heart’s primary pumping chamber, the left ventricle, which is a precursor to heart failure diagnosis and is called left ventricular hypertrophy.
The analysis was performed on 15,792 adults in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Participants were 44 to 66 years old at recruitment and were evaluated over five visits until age 70 to 90. Participants were divided into four groups based on their average serum sodium concentration, 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 (25 years later).
Higher serum sodium concentration in midlife was associated with both heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy 25 years later. Serum sodium remained significantly associated with both diseases after adjusting for other factors related to the development of heart failure like age, blood pressure, kidney function, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, body mass index, sex and smoking status.
The results suggest that good hydration throughout life may decrease the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure. In addition, finding says 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.