Maintaining Healthy Aging: The Role of Good Hydration According to a Recent Study

Studies indicate that individuals who consume adequate fluids tend to be healthier, less vulnerable to chronic illnesses like lung and heart disease, and live longer than those not getting sufficient hydration.

Utilising health data collected from 11,255 individuals over 30 years, associations between serum sodium levels (which rise with fluid consumption decline) and various indicators of health were studied.

Researchers noted that individuals with higher serum sodium levels were more likely to suffer chronic illnesses and display signs of biological aging than individuals with medium serum sodium levels, and also had an increased risk of dying sooner.

Researchers assessed data compiled during five medical visits made by participants of this study; two visits during their 50s, and three between 70-90 years old.

Participants were excluded if they had elevated serum sodium levels at baseline check-in or suffered from conditions, like obesity, that could impact serum sodium levels.

Researchers then investigated how serum sodium levels correspond with biological aging as measured by 15 health markers. This included factors like blood sugar, cholesterol and systolic blood pressure that provided insight into each person’s renal, metabolic, respiratory, cardiovascular and immune health status as well as high blood pressure, smoking status, biological sex status race and age – to name but a few.

These researchers noted that individuals with higher serum sodium levels (between 135 to 146 milliequivalents (mEq) per liter) exhibited signs of earlier biological aging, as measured by indicators such as cardiovascular and metabolic health, inflammation and lung function.

As an example, individuals with serum sodium levels between 142 mEq per liter and 144 mEq per liter had 10 to 15% greater likelihood of biological age exceeding their chronological age, while levels above 144 mEq per liter caused a 50% increase. Furthermore, 144.5 to 146 mEq per liter levels are associated with an 21% greater risk of premature death compared to levels between 137 and 142 mEq per liter levels.

Individuals with blood sodium levels higher than 142 milliequivalents per liter had up to 64% increased chronic disease risks such as peripheral artery disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke and heart failure as well as dementia, diabetes and chronic lung disease; those whose serum sodium was between 138-140 mEq per liter experienced significantly less chronic disease risk.

Individuals whose serum sodium level exceeds 142 milliequivalents per liter would benefit from having their fluid intake assessed. Most can safely increase fluid consumption to meet recommended levels; water may be supplemented by other forms of fluid consumption like juice or fruits with high water-content such as vegetables.

The National Academies of Medicine suggests that most women should consume 1.5 to 2.2 liters of fluids daily while men need between 2 and 3 liters.

Reduced body water content is one of the primary factors contributing to increased serum sodium concentrations, so these findings indicate that staying well-hydrated could help slow the aging process and delay or prevent chronic diseases.

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