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Doctors have long recommended drinking water to stay healthy. A new study done by the National Institute of Health not only supports this claim but shows that drinking water might also prevent future heart failure.

Dr. Natalia Dmitrieva, from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the Nation Institute of Health and a study author, states that staying hydrated can slow down or even stop the changes in the heart that cause heart failure. These results show that people need to note the amount of fluid they take daily and make changes if necessary.

While scientists recommend that women take about 6-8 glasses of water daily and 8-12 for men, most people do not reach the recommended amount.

Physicians use serum sodium concentration to find out if someone takes enough water

To determine if a person is well hydrated, scientists can measure their serum sodium. People who don’t drink enough water have a high serum concentration. The body tries to conserve water and activates physiological processes that lead to heart failure when this happens.

Dr. Dmitrieva adds that people often assume that serum sodium changes daily depending on the amount of water people drink in a day. However, people often develop regular water consumption habits that put serum sodium concentration levels in a narrow range.

How the researchers conducted the study

The researchers looked at the serum sodium concentration of 15,792 adults at age 44-66 from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. They followed up on the patients five times in a span of 25 years. They split the volunteers into four groups according to their average serum sodium levels.

The researchers examined the patient’s serum concentration levels and the heart’s left ventricle thickening with each follow-up. The thickening, known as left ventricular hypertrophy, usually indicates the start of heart failure.

The researchers concluded that middle-aged participants with high serum sodium levels increased the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy and hear

t failure in the future.  They also found that an increase in serum sodium by 1mmol/l  increases the chance of left ventricular heart failure by 1.20%.

The risk of developing heart diseases in patients aged 70-90 increased when their serum sodium went above 142mmol/l. Physicians should investigate the fluid intake of patients if their serum sodium levels exceed 142mmol/l.