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Hydration linked to lower risk of disease, study finds

Hydration linked to lower risk of disease, study finds

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You may know that adequate hydration is important for daily bodily functions such as like regulating temperature and maintaining skin health.

But drinking enough water is also associated with a significantly lower risk of developing chronic disease, a lower risk of premature death, or a lower risk of biological age above your chronological age, according to the National Institutes of Health study released Monday in the journal eBioMedicine.

“The results suggest that adequate hydration may slow aging and prolong disease-free life,” said study author Natalia Dmitrieva, a researcher in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the NIH. in news release.

Learning what preventive measures can slow the aging process is a “grand challenge of preventive medicine,” the study authors say. That’s because an epidemic of “age-related chronic diseases” is emerging as the world’s population ages rapidly. And extending healthy life expectancy can help improve quality of life and reduce health care costs more than just treating disease.

The authors believe that optimal hydration may slow the aging process, based on previous similar studies in mice. In those studies, lifelong water restriction raised mice’s serum sodium by 5 millimoles per liter and shortened their lifespan by six months, equivalent to about 15 years of human life, according to the new study. Serum sodium can be measured in the blood and increases when we drink less fluid.

Using health data collected over 30 years from 11,255 black and white adults from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, or ARIC, study, the research team found adults with serum sodium levels at the upper end of the normal range — which is 135 to 146 milliequivalents of liter (mEq/L) — have worse health outcomes than those at the lower end of the range. Data collection began in 1987 when participants were 40 or 50 years old, and the mean age of participants at the final assessment during the study period was 76 years.

Adults with levels above 142 mEq/L had a 10% to 15% higher chance of being biologically older than their chronological age compared to participants in the 137 to 142 mEq/L range. The participants with higher the risk of aging faster also has a 64% higher risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes and dementia.

And people with levels above 144 mEq/L had a 50% higher risk of biological aging and a 21% higher risk of premature death. Adults with serum sodium levels between 138 and 140 mEq/L, on the other hand, have the lowest risk of developing chronic disease. The study had no information on how much water the participants drank.

“This study adds observational evidence that reinforces the potential long-term benefits of improved hydration in reducing long-term health outcomes, including mortality,” said Dr. Howard Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, by email. Seso was not involved in the study.

However, “it would be nice to combine their definition of hydration based on serum sodium levels alone with the actual fluid intake data from the ARIC cohort,” Sesso added.

Biological age is determined by biomarkers that measure the performance of various organs and processes, including cardiovascular, renal (kidney-related), respiratory, metabolic, immune, and inflammatory biomarkers.

High serum sodium levels aren’t the only factor associated with risk of disease, early death, and faster aging—the risk is also higher among people with low serum sodium levels.

This finding is consistent with previous reports of increased mortality and cardiovascular disease in people with low-normal sodium levels, which has been attributed to diseases causing electrolyte problems, the authors said.

The study analyzed participants over a long period of time, but the findings did not prove a causal relationship between serum sodium levels and these health outcomes, the authors said. Further studies are needed, they added, but the findings could help doctors identify and target patients at risk.

“People whose serum sodium is 142 mEq/L or higher would benefit from having their fluid intake assessed,” Dmitrieva said.

Sesso noted that the study did not definitively address accelerated aging, “which is a complex concept that we are just beginning to understand.”

“Two key reasons underlie this,” Sesso said. The study authors “rely on a combination of 15 measures of accelerated aging, but this is one of many definitions for which there is no consensus. Second, their data on hydration and accelerated aging is a ‘snapshot’ in time, so there’s no way to know cause and effect.”

About half of the world’s people do not meet recommendations for daily total water intake, according to several studies quote the authors of the new study.

“At a global level, this could have a big impact,” Dmitrieva said in a media release. “Decreased water content in the body is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, so the results suggest that maintaining good hydration may slow the aging process and prevent or delay chronic disease.”

Our serum sodium levels are affected by fluid intake from water, other fluids, and fruits and vegetables with high water content.

“The most striking finding is that this risk (for chronic disease and aging) is evident even in people who have serum sodium levels that are at the upper end of the ‘normal range,'” said Dr. Richard Johnson, professor at University of Colorado School of Medicine, by email. He did not participate in the research.

“It challenges the question of what is really normal and supports the concept that as a population we are probably not drinking enough water.”

more than 50% your body is made of water, which is also needed for numerous functions, including digestion, creating hormones and neurotransmitters, and delivering oxygen to your body, according to Cleveland Clinic.

The National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) recommends women consume 2.7 liters (91 oz) of fluids daily and that men have 3.7 liters (125 oz) daily. This recommendation includes all liquids and foods rich in water, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups. Since the average ratio of fluid to food intake is about 80:20, this equates to a daily amount of 9 cups for women and 12 ½ cups for men.

People with health problems should talk to their doctor about how much fluid is right for them.

“The goal is to make sure patients are getting enough fluid while also evaluating factors, such as medications, that can lead to fluid loss,” said study co-author Dr. Manfred Boehm, director of the Cardiovascular Regenerative Laboratory medicine, in a media release. “Physicians may need to consider the patient’s current treatment plan, such as limiting fluid intake in heart failure.”

If you have trouble staying hydrated, you may need to help break the habit in your usual routine. Try leaving a glass of water by your bed to drink when you wake up, or drink water while your morning coffee is brewing. Anchor your hydration habit in a place you are several times a day, behavioral science expert BJ Fogg, Ph.D., founder and director of Stanford University’s Behavioral Design Lab. previously told CNN.


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