Why Water Is Key to Your Heart’s Health

Alan Mozes wrote . . . . . . . . .

Everyone knows that drinking plenty of water every day can improve your health in a myriad of ways, but here’s a lesser-known benefit: New research suggests that middle-aged adults can lower their long-term risk for heart failure by simply drinking enough water on a daily basis.

The finding follows an analysis that stacked heart health up against blood salt levels — an indicator for overall fluid intake — among nearly 16,000 middle-aged men and women over a 25-year period.

“The importance of hydration has been on the cardiovascular radar for a long time,” noted study author Natalia Dmitrieva, a senior researcher with the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Dmitrieva said it has to do with the way the lack of liquid intake can affect an individual’s sodium (salt) balance, hormone levels and kidney function in ways that may ultimately undermine proper heart function.

Specifically, she cited problems that can begin when a lack of fluid intake ends up driving a person’s blood salt levels above a specific threshold (namely, 142 millimoles per liter [mmol/L]).

For their study, Dmitrieva and her colleagues used that threshold as a reliable indicator of an individual’s overall hydration status, even though by current standards that level would typically be deemed to be within the “normal range” for blood sodium.

But the study team settled on that trigger point because when salt levels exceed that, a “hormone is secreted from the brain. This hormone acts on the kidney to activate water preservation mechanisms,” Dmitrieva said.

The result: urine excretion drops, setting in motion a spike in high blood pressure risk.

And elevated blood pressure isn’t the only cardiovascular threat posed by dehydration, she noted. Because over time, insufficient fluid intake can also directly undermine the cellular integrity of the heart muscle itself.

But the good news is that the “study suggests that maintaining good hydration can prevent or at least slow down the changes within the heart that lead to heart failure,” Dmitrieva noted.

All the study participants were between the ages of 44 and 66 when they were first enrolled in the study.

Each participant’s salt levels were evaluated five times over the following 25 years, as participants aged up to between 70 and 90 years.

Participants were then grouped into five different blood sodium level categories, according to their results, ranging from a low of between 135 to 139.5 mmol/L to a high of between 144 to 146 mmol/L.

The study team then tracked heart failure incidence — along with problems with the heart’s left ventricular pumping capacity — over the ensuing years.

The result: those whose blood sodium levels had exceeded 142 mmol/L in middle age saw their risk for both heart issues surge when they hit age 70 and older.

Going forward, said Dmitrieva, the hydration threshold identified by her team could “potentially be used by physicians during regular physical exams to identify patients who should be evaluated for their drinking habits, and to make recommendations to increase the intake of fluids if this evaluation finds that the patient’s liquid consumption is low.”

So how much liquid should middle-aged men and women ideally drink on a daily basis to protect their hearts?

“Recommendations vary in different countries,” Dmitrieva stressed, with the Institute of Medicine in the United States recommending a liquid intake at just under 3.2 quarts for men, and just over 2 quarts for women.

Still, Dr. Robert Eckel, past president of the American Heart Association and immediate past president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, suggested that the findings should be interpreted with caution.

“These data in the abstract are interesting,” said Eckel, but are not definitive proof that drinking more water is protective of cardiovascular health.

The findings “are only hypothesis-generating to address whether more fluid intake would reduce the risk for left-ventricle health and heart failure,” he noted, warning that “too much fluid in the wrong patient could be harmful.”

Dmitrieva and her colleagues were scheduled to present their findings at the virtual annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay

Scalloped Eggplant

Ingredients

1 large eggplant
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped green sweet pepper
1/2 lb veggie ground beef
1-1/2 cup cut fresh corn
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated American cheese

Method

  1. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Place the eggplant in a bowl with salted water to cover. Weigh the eggplant down with a plate and let soak for 15 minutes, then drain. Cook in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes or until tender, then drain well.
  2. Pour the oil into a skillet and place the skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, green pepper and veggie beef, and cook, stirring constantly, until done.
  3. Add the corn and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. Add the eggplant, salt, oregano, pepper and egg and mix well.
  5. Stir in the cheese, then place in a greased 2-quart casserole.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with fresh tomato wedges.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Creative Cooking Course


Today’s Comic

More Evidence Ties Gum Disease With Heart Disease

New research offers further evidence of a link between gum disease and heart disease.

The ongoing Swedish study previously found that gum disease (“periodontitis”) was much more common in first-time heart attack patients than in a group of healthy people.

In this follow-up study, the researchers examined whether gum disease was associated with an increased risk of new heart problems in both heart attack survivors and healthy people the same age and sex, and living in the same area.

“The risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event during follow-up was higher in participants with periodontitis, increasing in parallel with the severity. This was particularly apparent in patients who had already experienced a [heart attack],” said study author Giulia Ferrannini, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The researchers suspect that damage to the gum tissue in people with gum disease may allow germs to enter the bloodstream. “This could accelerate harmful changes to the blood vessels and/or enhance systemic inflammation that is harmful to the vessels,” Ferrannini added.

In total, the study included nearly 1,600 participants with an average age of 62. Dental examinations between 2010 and 2014 showed that 985 had good dental health, 489 had moderate periodontitis and 113 had severe periodontitis.

During an average follow-up of just over six years, people with gum disease were 49% more likely to die from any cause, have a nonfatal heart attack or stroke, or to develop severe heart failure.

The risk of those outcomes increased with the severity of gum disease, according to the study presented Friday at a virtual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

When assessed separately, the relationship between gum disease severity and the risk of negative outcomes was significant only for those who had experienced a heart attack in the past.

“Our study suggests that dental screening programs including regular check-ups and education on proper dental hygiene may help to prevent first and subsequent heart events,” Ferrannini concluded in a meeting news release.

Source: HealthDay

Chive Scrambled Eggs with Brioche

Ingredients

4 eggs
1/3 cup light cream
salt and pepper
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives, plus 4 whole fresh chives for garnishing
2 tbsp butter
4 slices brioche loaf

Method

  1. Break the eggs into a medium-sized bowl and whisk gently with the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the snipped chives.
  2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan and pour in the egg mixture. Let set slightly, then move the mixture toward the center of the pan using a wooden spoon as the eggs start to cook. Continue in this way until the eggs are cooked but still creamy.
  3. Lightly toast the brioche slices in a toaster or under the broiler and place in the center of two warmed plates.
  4. Spoon over the scrambled eggs and serve immediately, garnished with the whole chives.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Toast It!


Today’s Comic

Chuckles of the Day





Social Security Sign-up

After retiring, Kent went to the local office to apply for Social Security. The clerk asked him for his driver’s license to verify his age. He looked in his pockets and realized he had left his wallet at home. He told the woman that he was very sorry.

In lieu of his going home and coming back later, the clerk said, “Unbutton your shirt.” So he opened his shirt, revealing his curly silver hair. The clerk said, “That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me,” and she processed his Social Security application.

When Kent got home, he excitedly told his wife about the experience at the Social Security office. His wife replied. “You should have taken off the rest of your clothes. From what I see, you might have gotten disability, too.”

* * * * * * *

Hearing Problems

Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day. One remarked to the other, “Windy, isn’t it?”

“No,” the second man replied, “it’s Thursday.”

And the third man chimed in, “So am I. Let’s have a beer.”