The SparkPeople Blog

Another Reason to Drink Water: Prevent a Heart Attack

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/9/2009 9:12 AM   :  132 comments

We all know that water is good for you. It can help you feel fuller, it's a good replacement for sugary drinks like soda or juice, improves the look of your skin- the list is long. But did you know that drinking water might also help reduce your risk of a heart attack?

Recently, our experts found a study about how drinking water can benefit your heart- maybe as much as diet and exercise. The study ,(published in 2002) in the American Journal of Medical Epidemiology found that participants "who drink five or more glasses of plain water a day have a much lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease compared to those who drink less than two glasses per day."

The risk factors associated with coronary heart disease (like blood viscosity) appear to be elevated by dehydration. Study participants were generally healthy (without a history of heart disease, stroke or diabetes) and reduced their risk of dying of a heart attack by half or more. This appears to be more effective than many other preventative measures like weight loss or exercise.

The benefits were not the same if participants drank 5 or more glasses of other fluids each day. It appears that the reduced risk came with people who drank plain water. So don't think that drinking 5 Mountain Dews each day will reduce your risk of a heart attack.

I'm not aware of any follow-up studies to validate or disprove these results. But even so, drinking 5 glasses of water per day is an easy habit for most people to develop. And who knows what other health benefits you might get from making sure you stay well-hydrated throughout the day!

Are you surprised that the amount of water you drink could have more of an effect on your risk of heart attack than diet or exercise?


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Comments

  • 132
    Yay!! I knew there was something etxra good about the water! - 8/10/2012   7:40:59 AM
  • 131
    Very surprised. Good thing I've started drinking water much more faithfully since joining SparkPeople! - 1/1/2012   1:40:10 PM
  • 130
    Hey don't diss the "white, California Seventh Day Adventists" - it's not that they are holier than thou, but they ARE making an effort to improve their health. Many only joined SDA because of their health and the new-to-them dietary lifestyle gets a weekly (or even daily) positive reinforcement from their new SDA peers. It becomes a lifestyle that they can pass along to their family. I've heard that Jews tend to also have lower heart attacks, those who practice Kosher. So in many ways, it's like their own built in SparkPeople "focus on lifestyle" community. Who knows? Maybe in 10-15 years of SparkPeople focus, a future study will confirm that water indeed does help prevent heart attacks (and by the way, a different study I read indicated that drinking hot water - like as in hot teas - after a high fat meal was better for preventing heart attacks too because the warmth of the water would help to emulsify the fats in the foods. But that's another Daily Blog study review for another Day!!). - 7/1/2011   1:33:01 PM
  • 129
    Drinking more water benefits our body in many ways. We don't have to overdo it but be wise with it. Everyday this is something I almost have to force myself to do but the health benefits outweigh the laziness of not drinking the water and keeping my body hydrated. Anything to stay healthier is a great benefit especially for my heart. Thanks for the knowledge. - 10/21/2010   4:16:19 PM
  • MAGICWIZARD8
    128
    Wow! Didn't know that! I guess as a wizard I have to learn more... - 9/20/2010   9:08:52 AM
  • ETHELMERZ
    127
    If you read this "study", it was composed of a group of white, California Seventh Day Adventists, not your average person all over the USA. So take this study with a "grain of salt", or "half a glass of water"................the jury is still out my friends. - 9/18/2010   9:05:16 PM
  • 126
    Drinking water has one more benefit!! Keeping it up here! donna - 9/18/2010   11:06:50 AM
  • ENTROPICPARADOX
    125
    Wow! I've read about how important drinking sufficient water to prevent Alzheimer's disease, but I didn't think about the connection to heart disease. The article makes total sense, though. - 6/8/2010   12:21:53 AM
  • 124
    It's a good thing I'm not addicted to coffee. Some of my friends are heavy coffee drinkers AND sodas but haven't seen them drink water as much as they drink coffee - maybe they drink lots of water at night, hehe. - 6/7/2010   9:00:47 PM
  • 123
    Since I have a family history of coronary heart disease I am doing everything I possibly can to lower my risks. Knowing that my habit of drinking over 8 glasses of cold water a day is another good preventative along with healthy eating and fitness works for me. Now I have more ammo for my campaign to get the word out "Drink More Water!" - 4/29/2010   10:38:22 AM
  • 122
    A comment to answer to of the questions asked above. One, drinking more water will actually cause your bloating to go down as it washes or cleanses your body of whatever, such as sodium, is causing you to retain water.

    Second, yes, tepid or warm water is better for you than cold water. The reason for this is your body can absorb warm water faster than cold water, so if you are dehydrated stick to warm water.

    Third, yes you can consume too much water but I drink 12 - 8oz cups a day and that is perfectly fine, just don't over do it.

    Hope this helps. - 4/28/2010   5:27:16 PM
  • K_RENEE
    121
    Wooow! I'm floored. I never thought that simply drinking more water could be more conducive to good health that even exercise! - 4/27/2010   10:39:55 PM
  • 120
    Wow! Another reason to drink my new elixir of life! - 4/26/2010   11:37:54 PM
  • 119
    Another great reason to drink water. Thanks. - 4/26/2010   6:07:45 PM
  • _SPARK526
    118
    This was a surprise to me--but a good surprise, as I drink my water every day...just don't feel good anymore without it. I STILL don't like the taste of plain water, so am fairly addicted to my SodaClub carbonator :) - 4/26/2010   6:05:21 AM
  • 117
    This was very enlightening. I do think we should be drinking bottled water. So many chemicals in our tap water. I've even switched to organic milk. The less amount of chemicals the better. - 4/20/2010   3:09:59 PM
  • 116
    this was an interesting and good article to read. I put 2 quarts of water in the refrigerator over night and drink that much water in a days time. It helps flush out your kidneys and no calories. I'm always thirsty and feel like cotton mouth. - 4/19/2010   6:05:47 PM
  • BRIDGIRL
    115
    I am suprised to hear that drinking water can help to stop a heart attack-I do drink a lot of water so hopefully it is working for me - 4/19/2010   3:07:54 AM
  • PRESHA911
    114
    I was very surprised to read this. It gives me yet another reason to continue drinking 8 cups per day. - 4/18/2010   12:34:58 PM
  • 113

    I had no idea. Thanks for sharing this with us! - 4/12/2010   7:03:07 PM
  • SANDIERED
    112
    I am surprise to know that water has a risk on heart attack more than diet or exercise. I drink H2O more than soda or sugar drinks. I'm glad to know that drinking water pays off for the body. Thanks a bunch! - 4/5/2010   10:43:28 PM
  • 111
    I drink lots of water because I love it and because I know it's good for me. The article only serves to highlight the importance water plays in maintaining health. - 3/22/2010   8:54:52 AM
  • 110
    I like drinking water over anything esle if I had the choice. I don't drink soda, or coffee and juices that are artificial flavor.

    If you don't like water so much always have the 16 oz water bottles and put the ocean spray or other lower calorie single shot pouches which come in a box 8-10 packs and add it to your water.

    I have a bottle at my desk in the fridge and in my car. It fits pretty much anywhere and is light. You should even take drinks when you are not thirsty. It should make you feel fresh and helps with memory also. It great cleansing...

    Keep up the good work! Find what works so you can get your water prortions in for the day. Don't over drink water there is causes for to much water intake also. - 3/18/2010   12:40:23 PM
  • AGMURCH
    109
    I actually like drinking water....that and my coffee. but what I have found with drinking water is that after about 4-5 cups I get a feeling of "high" not full...although it does seem to cut out the snacking - 3/14/2010   1:23:20 PM
  • MAPEIS
    108
    I drink a lot of water but I never get that "full" sensation like the article says I am supposed to. I tend to not drink as much on the weekends and I end up feeling sluggish and get a headache. When I starting feeling bad the first thing I do is down the water.
    I also prefer mine tepid. Tepid water is supposed to be better for you but I can't remember why exactly. Something about the way the body metabolizes it. - 3/8/2010   2:00:28 PM
  • 107
    Due to the 8-glass goal (and graphic) on the Nutrition page, I drank 8 glasses of water in one day for the first time EVER this week. (I've never been a big fan of water.) This article inspires me to keep it up! - 2/21/2010   7:03:04 AM
  • 106
    Very interesting! Good thoughts Maya, I am curious too. - 2/7/2010   8:58:14 PM
  • ANGELFINDER
    105
    I wonder what drinking all this water will do to people like me who already hold a lot of fluid in our body? I drink a couple of glasses a day, but I think 8 would just swell me up all over. - 2/7/2010   5:35:38 PM
  • 104
    I'm not a big water drinker but I am trying to change. I'm drinking less coffee and soda and more water and juices. Now I have one more reason to drink more water.. - 2/1/2010   10:48:07 PM
  • 103
    Or it could just mean that healthier people tend to drink more water. Correlation or causation, can't tell. - 2/1/2010   3:38:31 PM
  • 102
    Water, I love it ice cold, and now I seem to have another reason for drinking it. - 2/1/2010   11:17:52 AM
  • 101
    I have always been a water drinker. When I have a blood draw I always drink double the amount of water the night before. I helps plump the vains so it is easier for the technicians to find and stick. Great news for the heart. - 1/31/2010   9:43:22 PM
  • 100
    I love my water even more since I gave up soda over 10 months ago. It is really nice to see that there is yet another health benifit behind all the water I consume each day. - 1/31/2010   11:56:41 AM
  • 99
    Any no calorie drink is equal to water, so I drink Tea, (Green Tea, Yerba Matte Tea, Oolong, Black), lemon with water, lemon-aid made with Splenda, etc. - 1/26/2010   12:43:06 PM
  • SMALLFRY46
    98
    I dont mind water,I have to drink it due to my kidney dease,but boy o boy I would once in awhile drink a glass of pop sometimes - 1/17/2010   2:38:45 PM
  • 97
    I drink a lot of water. Glad to know it helps the heart too. - 1/15/2010   9:59:17 AM
  • CASTLET
    96
    Interesting. I'm all about protecting my heart. I plan to make a greater effort to drink more water. I'm one of those oddballs who completely dislike drinking plain water but as of late I'm up to 3 cups a day. After reading this, I'm going to make it 5 starting tomorrow. - 11/30/2009   2:31:05 AM
  • 95
    I'm a little surprised, because the first pill they put you on for high blood pressure, is a water pill to reduce the water in the blood. Drinking water is always good for you, but I am a little surprised that they were specific about the heart benefits. - 10/27/2009   8:07:42 AM
  • 94
    Cool - and not surprising at all! Since I eliminated carbonated drinks from my diet, I drink mostly filtered water and find I really don't miss them. - 10/27/2009   1:11:28 AM
  • MRSKRISTINA
    93
    Wow... - 10/27/2009   12:45:54 AM
  • LEESA180
    92
    I always have difficulty drinking plain water.
    I literally have to force myself because my doctor told me to.
    I can gulp down any amount of cran water or any flavoured water for that matter. now, after reading this article.I am going to try a little harder to consume more plain water. - 10/26/2009   7:46:28 PM
  • 91
    I'm not sure that it's a direct relationship- those who drink more water typically also exercise and eat more healthy foods. It's probably more likely that the overall healthier lifestyle prevents heart attacks- not the water by itself. - 10/26/2009   3:22:51 PM
  • 90
    I never really gave it much thought, but it does make sense. "Thinner" blood via staying properly hydrated would seem to lower risk for sure. One more reason to keep on drinking as much water as I do. - 10/26/2009   1:16:55 PM
  • 89
    This is not surprising at all. Makes total sense. A very informative piece however. - 10/26/2009   1:09:45 PM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    88
    That makes sense. A long time ago I had to have blood drawn and I was dehydrated and it was dark and thick. My doctor told me to drink more water and then come back. - 10/25/2009   6:28:22 PM
  • 87
    i would have never known tha! - 10/25/2009   1:37:45 PM
  • 86
    It's an easy thing to do and couldn't hurt!
    - 10/22/2009   9:01:09 PM
  • 85
    I believe it. But, I think it has more to do with the people drinking the water. People who drink more water are much more likely to be eating and drinking healthier food and beverages. - 10/19/2009   3:18:38 PM
  • 84
    Very informative blog. - 9/14/2009   7:14:23 AM
  • DAZY424
    83
    Water is definitely something I strive to drink more of. After reading this blog I definitely think the health benefits are so strong that it's a necessity to drink a lot of water everyday. Even though it doesn't contain caffeine, it really does wake you up and refresh your pores. Heart disease prevention is also very important in my age group (65-ish ) so this is an added reason to drink up!

    If you are interested in other heart attack prevention tips, http://www.psastation.com/heart-att
    ack-prevention-psas
    has some great commercials that are entertaining and informational! - 7/2/2009   10:24:48 AM

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