Dehydration may be as bad ‘as smoking’ for veins

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Strokes are rarely preceded by obvious warning signs, making the chances of survival relatively slim. Taking precautionary steps against stroke is therefore paramount for preventing complications. Fortunately, researchers have identified several preventable risk factors for the condition. Their findings indicate that a great number of patients show up to the hospital dehydrated.

According to Harvard Health, the warning signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion or urine that’s dark in colour.

The minimum amount of water a person needs to avoid these signs is around four to six cups of water each day, according to the health body.

Research conducted by Loma Linda University, however, has previously established that drinking at least five glasses of water is necessary for reducing the risk of stroke by 53 percent.

Not only may this protect against the condition, but it may also improve a person’s outcome in the event of a stroke.

In 2015, research on patients admitted to the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital provided interesting findings about the cardiovascular risks of dehydration.

The research showed that dehydrated patients were nearly four times more likely to suffer worse outcomes, compared to adequately hydrated patients.

It was noted that “dehydration appears to be common in hospitalised stroke patients and is associated with severe stroke and poor outcomes at hospital discharge”.

The report added: “We suggest that focusing on interventions to reduce the frequency and duration of dehydration have the potential to improve patient outcomes after stroke.”

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In 2016, research by the University of Arkansas made another poignant discovery about the effects of dehydration on cardiovascular health.

The findings suggested that hydration levels – even mild dehydration in healthy, young males – may play a role in a person’s cardiovascular risk.

The effects of hydrations levels were most apparent in the endothelial functions of the blood vessels.

Endothelial function describes the dilation and constriction of the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels.

“It plays a critical role in cardiovascular health,” explains Science Daily.

The result, published in the European Journal of Nutrition established that even mild dehydration could “impair vascular functions nearly as much as smoking a cigarette”.

The Michigan Neurology Associated noted that dehydration may also have a thickening effect on the blood, which poses its own set of risks.

Viscous blood causes the body to retain more sodium, which in turn increases blood pressure.

Not only does this present an opportunity for blood clots to form, but blood flow may also slow down.

As a result, blood may back up in blocked or narrowed blood vessels and cause a stroke.

“If you have other heart disease risk factors, such as clogged arteries, dehydration can be especially dangerous,” warns the health body.

It should be noted that though adequate hydration is important for vascular health, drinking excessive amounts of water is not recommended either, as this can be especially dangerous for people who had heart and kidney conditions.

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