Drinking water and Heart Disease: Hot sunny summer and dehydration goes hand in hand – whether you remain confined to your room, move around in your home or roam somewhere else, you cannot escape from dehydration as heatwave may cause dehydration and heatstroke. It is quite easy to get dehydrated by losing water as sweat due to heatwave and hot sun rays. Dehydration can cause symptoms ranging from headaches, swollen feet to life-threatening conditions like heat stroke and heart problems.

What is dehydration?

When you lose more amount of fluids through urine, sweat and respiration than you consume as water and through foods and fruits – you will develop dehydration. When you are dehydrated you may feel weak, your skin becomes dry and your other bodily functions get out of sort – including your heart function as well.

Who are at Risk for Dehydration?

Those who work excessively, do more vigorous physical activities, athletes, children, diseased people, people with chronic illnesses, the elderly and weak persons are at risk of dehydration.

What are the cardiac effects of dehydration?

Drinking water and Heart Disease: Your heart works relentlessly pumping nearly about 2000 gallons of blood per day. As blood mostly consists of water – by drinking enough water you remain hydrated and thus you can help your heart do its job efficiently.

But dehydration negatively impacts you and your heart – as it causes reduction in the blood volume – the amount of blood circulating.

Dehydration and blood pressure:  When the volume of blood decreases, your heart beats faster to compensate it – owing to which your heart rate and blood pressure increases. Dehydration also leads to retention of sodium, and thickening of blood – causing more trouble to the heart making it harder for your blood to circulate through the body. Hydration causes opposite effects – your heart pumps blood efficiently – making the way for the oxygen to reach muscles and thus muscles work efficiently.

What are the signs of dehydration?

Excessive thirst, headache, muscle cramps, dark yellow colour urine, less urination, urinating much less urine, sticky mouth or dry mouth are the mild to moderate signs of dehydration.

Sunken eyes, shrivelled and dry skin, very dark yellow-coloured urine, not urinating, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeats, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, irritability, delirium and unconsciousness are the signs of severe dehydration. If someone known to you experiences these or any of these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical help.

How much water should you drink to stay hydrated?

There is no strict hard and fast rule that you should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. It all depends on how much your body needs. Whenever you feel the need you should drink water as much as you need.

There are some demanding situations wherein you need more water – such as while doing physical activities and indulging in exercises and prior to going outside during summer.

Why you should keep yourself well-hydrated?

Dehydration is a serious condition specially during hot and dry climatic conditions and sunny days. Some people tend to neglect drinking enough water and thus may become prone to headaches and even to some life-threatening conditions like heat stroke. You must keep yourself well hydrated so as not to put excess pressure on your heart to work hard.

Bottom line

Some people tend to drink less amount of water than normal. They can spice it up with some lemon or orange slices. It’s a better move to hydrate yourself. The best parameter to know whether you are well hydrated or dehydrated is to check
the colour of your urine. If urine colour is dark and strong -it suggests dehydration. You should drink more water. The urine of a well-hydrated person is often light, clear and colourless.

Drinking water and heart disease: Always remember, never ever dehydrate yourself – it is neither good for your body nor for your heart. To prevent dehydration in hot sunny days, carry a water bottle wherever you go.