Dehydration can be just as bad for veins as smoking – how much water do you need to avoid a stroke
A stroke is rarely preceded by overt warning signs, making the chances of survival relatively small. Therefore, precautions against stroke are paramount to prevent complications. Fortunately, researchers have identified several preventable risk factors for this condition. Their results show that a large number of patients are admitted to the hospital with dehydration.
According to Harvard Health, warning signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or dark urine.
The minimum amount of water a person needs to avoid these signs is four to six cups of water a day, according to the health authority.
However, studies conducted by Loma Linda University previously found that drinking at least five glasses of water is necessary to reduce the risk of stroke by 53 percent.
Not only can it protect against this condition, but it can also improve a person’s outcome in the event of a stroke.
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In 2015, a study of patients admitted to the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Johns Hopkins found interesting findings about the cardiovascular risks of dehydration.
The study found that dehydrated patients were almost four times more likely to suffer worse outcomes compared to adequately dehydrated patients.
It has been noted that “Dehydration appears to be common in hospitalized stroke patients and is associated with severe stroke and poor hospital discharge outcomes.”
The report added, “We suggest that focusing on interventions to reduce the frequency and duration of dehydration may improve patient outcomes after stroke.”
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In 2016, a University of Arkansas study made another important discovery about the effects of dehydration on the cardiovascular system.
The findings suggest that levels of hydration — even mild dehydration in healthy young men — may play a role in a person’s cardiovascular risk.
The effects of hydration level were most evident in the endothelial functions of blood vessels.
Endothelial function describes the expansion and contraction of the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels.
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“It plays a critical role in cardiovascular health,” explains Science Daily.
The result, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, found that even mild dehydration can “impair vascular function almost as much as smoking a cigarette.”
The Michigan Neurological Association noted that dehydration can also thicken the blood, which creates its own set of risks.
Viscous blood causes the body to retain more sodium, which in turn raises blood pressure.
Not only does this provide an opportunity for blood clots to form, but it can also slow blood flow.
As a result, blood can pool in blocked or narrowed blood vessels and cause a stroke.
“If you have other risk factors for heart disease, such as clogged arteries, dehydration can be especially dangerous,” the health authority warns.
It should be noted that while adequate hydration is important for vascular health, drinking too much water is also not recommended, as it can be especially dangerous for people with heart and kidney disease.
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