Dehydration and Stroke: How Are They Linked?

Dehydration and Stroke: How Are They Linked?

One of the biggest rules of thumb to follow for good health is to drink plenty of water every day. Drinking water can help prevent complications from dehydration — a condition that can lead to even more serious health problems, including a stroke.

At HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC, our skilled cardiologists specialize in high-quality medical care for those who experience a stroke. We also take a proactive approach to lower your risk for stroke and other potentially life-threatening conditions.

What you need to know about strokes

A stroke occurs when there’s disruption in the flow of blood to your brain. You may experience a stroke if you have a blood clot that blocks an artery or if the blood vessels leading to your brain become narrow due to disease or aging.

When your brain lacks oxygen-rich blood, nerve cells can quickly begin to die. Without immediate medical intervention, your risk for severe mental and physical disabilities increases significantly. Many people also die every year due to stroke.

Causes of dehydration

Dehydration is a condition where you lose more fluids from your body than you take in. This loss of fluids interferes with your body’s ability to function properly.

You might be at risk for dehydration in general if you don’t drink water every day. Dehydration also occurs when you engage in physical activities like sports in hot weather or because of underlying health issues that cause persistent diarrhea or vomiting.

Children and older adults are more susceptible to dehydration because of a low water volume in their bodies. Older people may become easily dehydrated when they have minor illnesses or infections.

The link between dehydration and stroke

Being dehydrated affects your body in many ways. Without enough water in your system, your blood can become thick and may not circulate as well.

Narrowed blood vessels make it more difficult for the thickened blood to get to your brain and increase your risk for a stroke.

On the other side of the coin, people who stay well hydrated tend to recover from a stroke better than those who don’t drink enough fluids.

Stroke prevention tips

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend making important changes to your lifestyle now to reduce your risk factors for stroke. Stroke prevention tips include:

Drink enough water for your body type

Most people know to drink six to eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. However, the amount of water you should be consuming should be based on your individual body.

To stay hydrated, you should divide your body weight by two and drink that much water in ounces each day. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water daily.

Manage your weight

Being overweight or obese can significantly increase your risk for stroke. Aim to reach a healthy body mass index (BMI) by eating a healthy diet of natural foods and eliminating sugar and processed foods as much as possible.  

Engage in physical activity

Get at least 30 minutes of exercise to stay fit. Take walks, play sports, or find another activity you like to do to keep your weight in a healthy range and keep your blood circulating.

Quit smoking

Smoking can narrow your blood vessels and make a stroke more likely. If you can’t quit smoking on your own, we can recommend a smoking cessation program that helps you kick the habit for good.

If you have risk factors for stroke, don’t put off an evaluation. Schedule a consultation online or call the HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC office near you today.

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