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  • Writer's pictureTo Your Health Editorial Staff

Water: Good for the Heart

Do you know H2O is heart healthy? It definitely is, which is one of the many reasons why you should drink adequate amounts of water throughout your day – every day. New research shows why water matters when it comes to your heart, specifically for reducing the risk of heart failure.

Researchers gathered data on more than 15,000 adults enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study at middle age 45-66) and followed for 25 years, providing information on medical visits over more than two decades. All had normal hydration levels and were not experiencing diabetes, obesity or heart failure when the study began. Serum sodium, the amount of sodium in the bloodstream, was used to identify participants at increased risk of suffering heart failure. (Serum sodium increases as fluid levels decrease.)

Among the 12,000 study participants in the final analysis, researchers discovered that those with serum sodium levels exceeding 143 millequivalents per liter (mEq/L) in midlife (when the study began) had a significant (39 percent higher) risk for developing heart failure during the 25-year follow-up period compared to those with lower levels. (The normal range of serum sodium is 135-146 mEq/L.) Findings appear in the European Heart Journal.

How much water are you drinking every day? If you're not downing at least eight, 8-ounce cups on a daily basis, you're not getting enough, according to guidelines. One of the easy ways to ensure adequate daily consumption: carry a large water bottle with you wherever you go. Another way (which is also good for your heart, by the way): work up a sweat by exercising every day. You'll be amazed at how thirsty you get!

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