According to a new survey of more than 15,000 adults over 25 years, drinking enough water throughout life can prevent or reduce the risk of heart problems, such as heart attack.
Many studies, in the last decades, have been showing the importance of water consumption for longevity and human health. Thus, the research published in the ESC (European Society of Cardiology) Congress, 2021 edition, analyzed patients every 5 years.
These patients were between the ages of 44 and 66, and they were followed by the team of researchers until the age range of 70 to 90. The team, in turn, looked at whether the patients were in the habit of drinking enough water for their bodies, mainly by the sodium (Na+) levels in the participants' blood.
It turns out that human blood has a normal sodium concentration that generally ranges between 135 and 145 mmol/L. However, research has shown that levels above 142 mmol/L (the more sodium, the less water, in proportion) significantly increased the risk of heart disease in patients.
Especially, left ventricular hypertrophy was one of the indications of higher risk of heart problems. This condition, therefore, causes an increase in the thickness of the left ventricle, making it difficult to pump blood.
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But what is the relationship between drinking enough water and blood sodium?
Sodium, as well as other salts, has essential functions at the cellular level in all organisms. Our neurons, for example, depend on this cation to perform the transmission of the nervous impulse, by the sodium-potassium ATPase. In addition, these salts present in the blood have several osmotic functions.
It turns out that water is a necessary solvent for most of the functions of our cells. To put it in general terms, it makes metabolism easier and less stressful, at the physiological and cellular level. However, as we ingest less water, the concentration of salts increases in the blood.
This causes greater water reabsorption, which also forces the work of the liver and kidneys to unhealthy levels. On average, the researchers recorded that for every mmol/L more sodium, the chance of left ventricular hypertrophy increases by up to 1.2%.
As little as it may seem, it is worth noting that most people do not consume the average 2 liters of water per day. In association with cholesterol, diabetes, and a sedentary lifestyle, the problem snowballs, and that 1.2% makes all the difference.
Just in case, it's better to always carry a full bottle, and of water, not soft drinks and artificial beverages.
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The survey is available from ESC Congress 2021.