Heart disease: One of the healthiest drinks to counteract sodium content and reduce risk

poses an imminent threat, killing millions of people every year. In fact, heart disease is said to be the leading cause of death in the Western world. A certain beverage could be key in helping to reduce your risk.

A study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute examined whether serum sodium concentration in middle age, as a measure of hydration habits, predicts the development of heart failure 25 years later.

Researchers also examined the connection between hydration and thickening of the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) – called left ventricular hypertrophy – which is a precursor to heart failure diagnosis.

The study involved 15,792 participants with ages ranging from 44 to 66 years old.

Participants were divided into four groups based on their average serum sodium concentration.

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“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 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“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.

“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.”

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Recommendations on daily fluid intake vary from 1.6 to 2.1 litres for women and two to three litres for men.

However, worldwide surveys have shown that many people do not meet even the lower ends of these ranges.

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.

“The results suggest that good hydration throughout life may decrease the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and heart failure,” added Dr Dmitrieva.

“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 labelled 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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