For the study, 15,792 adults between the ages of 44 and 66 were examined and evaluated during five visits over a 25-year period. At the evaluations, researchers analysed hydration status measured by serum sodium - when people drink less fluid, the concentration of serum sodium increases - and whether a high concentration predicts the development of heart failure. Researchers also wanted to examine whether there was a correlation between hydration levels and the thickening of the heart’s main pumping chamber (known as left ventricular hypertrophy) which, if existent, would serve as a precursor to heart failure. To do so, participants were divided into four groups based on their average serum sodium concentration during the first two visits, and by the final visit, researchers assessed the proportion of people who developed heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy.
The study revealed that the higher a person’s serum sodium concentration in midlife, the more likely they were to develop heart failure or left ventricular hypertrophy in their golden years. The key takeaway though, you need to be drinking water consistently. Suddenly downing gallons in a day to make up for lack of water in days prior isn’t going to do your body any good.
“It is natural to think that hydration and serum sodium should change day to day depending on how much we drink on each day,” says Dr Dmitrieva. “However, serum sodium concentration remains within a narrow range over long periods, which is likely related to habitual fluid consumption.”
So, it’s time we start hitting that 3L benchmark for water. Or, you can be like The Rock, who says he consumes a staggering 18 litres each day. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.