Dehydration could be as bad as smoking: Drink this much water a day to avoid health issues

Recent studies show that dehydrated stroke patients are four times more at risk than people who drink enough water. Here is how much you need to drink to stay safe.

Dehydration could be 'as bad as smoking' for your brain
© Manki Kim / Unsplash
Dehydration could be 'as bad as smoking' for your brain

Remaining hydrated enough could be the key to avoiding dangerous health issues, such as strokes. A recent study has found people who don't drink enough water to be four times more at risk than people who are well-hydrated.

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What is a stroke?

A stroke is a life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply is cut off from the brain. Time is essential when dealing with a stroke, as a quick medical treatment can quite literally save your life, and lessen the damages caused to the brain.

According to the CDC, signs of a stroke may include:

  • Sudden numbness in the face, arm, or leg, especially in only one side of the body.
  • Confusion, or trouble understanding.
  • Trouble seeing, in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or lack of coordination.

If you see someone may be suffering from a stroke, you should call emergencies immediately and note the time when the first symptoms appeared, this helps emergency services immensely.

Read more:Here's what you should eat to avoid overheating during a heatwave

Staying hydrated to avoid serious health issues

Doctors believe that taking precautions to avoid strokes or other health issues, is essential, especially since strokes do not come with preliminary signs. Fortunately, researchers at John Hopkins University found several preventable risk factors.

According to Science Daily, a 2015 study conducted by John Hopkins Medicine revealed that several patients suffering from a stroke showed up to the hospital dehydrated. Researchers at Harvard University give us tips to identify dehydration: weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or dark urine.

Drink at least six cups of water a day to avoid risks of strokes or life-long brain damage Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

To avoid suffering from a stroke, or improve your outcome in case of a stroke, Harvard doctors found that you need to drink at least six cups of water a day.

In 2015, a research was conducted at John Hopkins Hospital, which found that dehydrated patients who suffered from a stroke were four times more likely to suffer worse outcomes and life-long brain damage. The report read:

Dehydration appears to be common in hospitalised stroke patients and is associated with severe stroke and poor outcomes at hospital discharge.
We suggest that focusing on interventions to reduce the frequency and duration of dehydration have the potential to improve patient outcomes after stroke.

Read more: Not sleeping enough may have a serious impact on your health

Dehydration could be as bad as smoking

Another research, conducted by University of Arkansas in 2016, found that even mild dehydration may 'impair vascular functions nearly as much as smoking a cigarette'.

Dehydration could be 'as bad as smoking' for your brain Andres Siimon / Unsplash

The Michigan Neurology Associated notes that:

If you have other heart disease risk factors, such as clogged arteries, dehydration can be especially dangerous.

Stavros Kavouras, associate professor at the University of Arkansas, who led the international team that published the study said:

You could be mildly dehydrated without knowing it while you have endothelial impairment similar to smoking a cigarette

Dehydration, even mild, can thicken your blood vessels, causing atherosclerosis. It is the loss of flexibility in the blood vessels that leads to hardening of the arteries, which is a known contributor to cardiovascular disease. The same effect happens for smokers.

The team of researchers who found the link between dehydration and strokes is the first one to make the connection.

Sources used:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Express: Dehydration may be as bad 'as smoking' for veins - how much water you need to avoid stroke

Harvard Health: How much water should you drink?

European Journal of Nutrition: The effect of hypohydration on endothelial function in young healthy adults

University of Arkansas: New Study Finds Hydration Levels Affect Cardiovascular Health

John Hopkins Medicine: Risk Factors for Stroke

Science Daily: Dehydration linked to worsening stroke conditions

Never drink hot water from the tap, it could be bad for your health Never drink hot water from the tap, it could be bad for your health