What does drinking enough water have to do with your heart?
A lot, it turns out.
In fact, a new study says that even being mildly dehydrated as a healthy young man plays a role in developing heart disease.
Stavros Kavouras, associate professor and coordinator of the Exercise Science Program at the University of Arkansas, led the study. He said, “You could be mildly dehydrated without knowing it while you have endothelial impairment similar to smoking a cigarette. The degree of dehydration when these changes occur is at less than 2 percent dehydration, which is around the threshold when people start feeling thirsty.”
The endothelium is the one cell-thick lining of your blood vessels that allows them to expand and contract as needed. Atherosclerosis happens when your blood vessels lose the ability to expand and you get hardening of the arteries, a known contributor to cardiovascular disease.
Imagine how much more impact a lack of hydration has as you grow older… more inflammation and less flexible arteries can spell heart disaster.
The question has always been, how much should you drink?
The answer is, it depends. Your body uses up and can process much more water if you live in a warmer climate, for example. Dr. Mark Wiley has some good advice on what causes us to lose water and how to retain more. A good rule of thumb is to drink to excess of thirst so that you don’t get even the mild dehydration that can harm your heart.