How Does Staying Hydrated Help the Heart?

April 17, 2018

Every system in the body depends on water to function properly, which is why staying hydrated is essential for overall health. From your mood and ability to focus on your weight and energy levels, hydration can have many positive effects. It’s also essential for your heart.

How Staying Hydrated Benefits the Heart

Didn’t know drinking water was a critical component of heart health? It sure is.

Your heart works around the clock, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood a day! Staying hydrated (taking in more water than your body is losing) helps your heart do its job more easily and efficiently, allowing the muscles in your body to work even better.

When your body is fully hydrated, your blood is approximately 94 percent water. When your body isn’t getting enough water, it can lead to dehydration and cause strain on your heart, especially over a long period of time. During dehydration, the following occurs:

  • The amount of blood circulating through your body (i.e. your blood volume) decreases and the blood becomes thicker, causing resistance to blood flow.
  • To maintain blood pressure, your heart then needs to compensate by working harder. It beats faster, increasing your heart rate and causing you to feel palpitations.
  • Your blood also retains more sodium, making it more difficult for it to circulate through your body and increasing blood pressure.

Chronic Dehydration and Heart Disease

Chronic dehydration is a significant contributor to the onset of heart disease, specifically contributing to high blood pressure and high cholesterol – the top two risk factors for heart disease.

  1. Dehydration and High Blood Pressure – Not drinking enough fluids can result in dehydration which, as mentioned above, leads to higher sodium levels in your bloodstream and causes circulation issues.
  1. Dehydration and High Cholesterol – Sufficient amounts of water are needed daily in order for the bloodstream to flow properly. When the body is dehydrated, the body can’t properly remove excess cholesterol from arteries. Over time, this increases one’s risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.

One of the easiest steps you can take to maintain your heart health is to ensure you’re drinking enough water every day. Avoiding dehydration is a simple lifestyle solution that can help protect your heart and keep you healthy.