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Hydration Aids Healthy Aging

Drink Up to Live Long

Hydration Aids Healthy Aging

By Sean Zucker –

Everybody knows it’s important to stay hydrated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that when an individual fails to consistently consume adequate amounts of water there are serious health implications. These issues include unclear thinking, mood changes, overheating, constipation and kidney stones. Now, new research is adding to that list of concerns as a recent study linked poor hydration habits with early aging and several chronic diseases.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and examined data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study or ARIC. This research relied on data from more than 11,000 adults for over 30 years. The participants were in their 40s or 50s when they began in 1987 and were 76 on average at their final assessment.

The volunteers had their blood-sodium concentrations tracked, which was used to determine their hydration habits. The research team considered 135 to 146 millimoles per liter in the normal range of hydration. Higher concentrations were considered a sign that individuals were not consuming enough water.

Being dehydrated is bad enough. However, the researchers also discovered that those who landed anywhere above 142 millimoles per liter were more likely to develop certain chronic diseases including heart failure, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and dementia.

“People whose serum sodium is 142 millimoles per liter or higher would benefit from evaluation of their fluid intake,” reported study author Dr. Natalia Dmitrieva.

Additionally, participants with blood-sodium concentrations surpassing 144 millimoles per liter were roughly 50 percent more likely to show signs of early physical aging beyond the expectation for their age compared to people with lower blood sodium levels.

“The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life,” she added.

The researchers acknowledged that the numbers alone may not explain what’s happening with every individual. Some people showing problems may have had underlying health conditions that are inflating their numbers. In this case, additional medical guidance is required.

“The goal is to ensure patients are taking in enough fluids while assessing factors like medications that may lead to fluid loss,” explained Manfred Boehm, a co-author of the study and director of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine. “Doctors may also need to defer to a patient’s current treatment plan such as limiting fluid intake for heart failure.”

Dr. Dmitrieva, nonetheless, believes that her team’s results offer significant insights and benefits.

“On the global level, this can have a big impact,” she noted. “Decreased body water content is the most common factor that increases serum sodium which is why the results suggest that staying well hydrated may slow down the aging process and prevent or delay chronic disease.”





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