Our bodies are made up of 60% water. Every organ, tissue and cell need water in order to function properly. Water rids our bodies of waste products through urination, bowel movements and perspiration. It also keeps our temperature regulated and lubricates our joints.
The heart is an organ and perhaps the most important one of all, though they are all much needed. Your heart works constantly to pump around 2000 gallons of blood all around your body. You need to drink more water than you lose in order to keep it working properly. Water is critical for heart health. By staying hydrated you are helping your heart to do its job.
How does de-hydration affect the heart?
When you lose more fluid through sweating, urination or illness than you consume in your food and water, you become de-hydrated. This negatively effects your organs and bodily functions, including the heart and the cardiovascular system. Your blood volume decreases and your heart speeds up to compensate, which puts strain on the heart and raises your blood pressure. Your blood also retains more sodium during dehydration, which thickens it and makes it harder to circulate. Staying hydrated helps your heart to pump the blood more easily, allowing oxygen to reach your muscles so that they can work efficiently.
Some groups of people are more at risk of de-hydration than others. These include the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, athletes and children. These groups of people should pay particular attention to their fluid intake as de-hydration can be serious and lead to problems such as a headache or swollen feet. If left to worsen it can be life-threatening, causing heat stroke or heart attack.
What are the signs of de-hydration?
The symptoms of mild to moderate de-hydration are:
The symptoms of severe dehydration are:
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms you should contact a health professional immediately.
How much water do you need?
The recommended daily fluid intake (including all beverages and water containing foods) is 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women.
Thirst is not the best indicator that you’re low on fluids. If you are thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. The colour of your urine is often the earliest indicator of how hydrated you are. Pale and clear (lemonade-coloured) urine means you’re well hydrated.
What factors can influence how much water you need?
How much water you need as an individual can be influenced my many factors. These include how healthy you are, how active you are and where you live. You might need to increase your fluid intake based on these factors.
If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you will need to drink extra water to cover the fluid you have lost. It’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout.
Hot or humid weather can make you sweat more and therefore requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
Your body loses fluid when you have a fever, diarrhoea or are vomiting. If you have particular medical conditions, such as diabetes or a heart condition, if you are over 50, or overweight, you may also need to take extra precautions to increase your fluid intake. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you will need additional fluids to stay hydrated, to replace what is being lost by nourishing the baby.
If you’re traveling to a different climate, you might sweat more, or drinkable water might not be as readily available and you will need to seek other fluids. It is important to remember to drink fluids throughout the day.
Water is your body’s principal chemical component. For good heart and indeed health overall it is imperative to remember to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. Having a water cooler in your offices or drinking from a filtered source is always advisable to stay in good health and avoid dehydration.
Contact us today to discuss keeping your staff well hydrated all year round with a constant source of readily available, deliciously cool water.