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Staying well-hydrated key to living longer, healthier life, reveals study

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study, adults who stay well-hydrated appear to be healthier, develop fewer chronic conditions, such as heart and lung disease, and live longer than those who may not get sufficient fluids.

Staying well-hydrated key to living longer, healthier life, reveals study snt
First Published Jan 3, 2023, 6:07 PM IST

Scientists have found good hydration levels may be vital in living a longer and healthier life. Adults who maintain good hydration appear to be healthier, have fewer chronic diseases like heart and lung illness and live longer than those who do not get enough fluids, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study.

Researchers examined relationships between blood sodium levels, which rise when fluid intake declines, and several health indicators using the information on 11,255 persons collected over 30 years.

The researchers discovered that compared to adults with serum sodium levels in the middle range, those with serum sodium levels at the higher end of a normal range were more likely to acquire chronic diseases and exhibit symptoms of advanced biological ageing.

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Adults with greater levels had an increased chance of dying earlier. The research results are presented in the eBioMedicine publication.

"The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down ageing and prolong a disease-free life," said Natalia Dmitrieva, a study author and researcher in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH. 

The study revealed that during five medical appointments, the first two were while study participants were in their 50s, and the final was when they were between the ages of 70 and 90.

Researchers eliminated persons with high serum sodium levels at baseline check-ins or with underlying disorders, including obesity, that could alter serum sodium levels to allow for a fair assessment of how hydration connected with health outcomes, according to the study.

The researchers next looked at the relationships between serum sodium levels and 15 health markers used to measure biological ageing. Systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar were among the variables that gave information about how each person's cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, renal, and immunological systems were doing. The study also considered variables including age, race, biological sex, smoking status, and hypertension.

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They found that adults with higher levels of normal serum sodium - with normal ranges falling between 135-146 milliequivalents per litre (mEq/L) - were more likely to show signs of faster biological ageing. This was based on metabolic and cardiovascular health, lung function, and inflammation indicators. 

For example, adults with serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L had a 10-15 per cent associated increased odds of being biologically older than their chronological age compared to ranges between 137-142 mEq/L, while levels above 144 mEq/L correlated with a 50 per cent increase. 

Likewise, the study said that levels of 144.5-146 mEq/L were associated with a 21 per cent increased risk of premature death compared to ranges between 137-142 mEq/L.

Similarly, adults with serum sodium levels above 142 mEq/L had up to a 64 per cent increased associated risk for developing chronic diseases like heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation and peripheral artery disease, as well as chronic lung disease, diabetes, and dementia.

Conversely, the study said that adults with serum sodium levels between 138-140 mEq/L had the lowest risk of developing chronic disease. 

The findings do not prove a causal effect, the researchers noted. Randomized, controlled trials are necessary to determine if optimal hydration promotes healthy ageing, prevents disease, and leads to a longer life. However, the associations can still inform clinical practice and guide personal health behaviour.

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"The goal of providing medical guidance is to ensure patients are taking in enough fluids while assessing factors, like medications, that may lead to fluid loss," said Manfred Boehm, a study author and director of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine. 

"Doctors may also need to defer to a patient's current treatment plan, such as limiting fluid intake for heart failure," said Boehm.

(With inputs from PTI)

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