Another Reason to Drink Water: Prevent a Heart Attack

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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

  • 82
    My physical trainer recommends taking your body weight/2 = # of ounces to drink. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces per day. - 6/18/2009   12:44:35 AM
  • NIGHTSTAR777
    81
    Drink water but not like fish. Water can has cons as well as pros. - 6/14/2009   5:31:08 PM
  • PETITEDIVA
    80
    This is just one more good reason to drink water. I know all the reasons, and I still have difficulty drinking those 6 - 8 glasses a day! When I do, it helps with the weight loss (as well as all the other good things). So...I will remember this important benefit of drinking water. Thanks!
    - 6/13/2009   6:39:54 PM
  • 79
    I wish I could get my kidlet to drink more water. If it's Vitamin Water, she'll drink it -- but not plain water. My husband offers me a Coke, I request water. I can tell a huge difference in my skin -- my dry patches on my elbows are getting softer and the wrinkles are getting plumper (not so deep). No, I'm not surprised. I'm on a large boatload of medications and I think the water helps those, too. Great blog! - 6/13/2009   8:56:35 AM
  • 78
    This is a good reminder. I prefer water anyway, just have to make the effort to keep refilling my glass. I have filtered water at home and at work. Thanks for the article. - 6/13/2009   7:05:41 AM
  • 77
    I love my Diet Coke: but know that water is what my body needs. So I reward myself with a Diet Coke for lunch . . . but only if I have consumed four glasses of water. Similarly, at dinner time, another Diet Coke if another four glasses have been consumed. These are the only two drinks I like and I usually drink more than 8 glasses of water, but having a reward for doing what I should do is a bonusl. - 6/12/2009   11:05:54 AM
  • ROSALINI
    76
    I'm glad to hear about another benefit from drinking water. My doctors has told me to cut out caffeine and sugar, so I just go with water with a lemon wedge. Works for me! - 6/12/2009   9:42:38 AM
  • 75
    Nothing can replace water. Try adding a little rosewater to it...believe me, you will lap it up!! - 6/11/2009   1:17:49 PM
  • KRISTWOOD
    74
    I normally drink anywhere from 6 to 8 glasses per day. At one time I was not drinking any water but just sodas. I very seldom drink soda now. If I don't drink water I actually feel a little sluggish. I am now trying to give up drinking coffee. - 6/11/2009   10:41:10 AM
  • 73
    I, too, prefer water to anything else (rarely, if ever, have soda or coffee). A hot drink is herbal tea but water is just the most perfect beverage for me. I'm always seen with a water bottle no matter where I go, even for a walk, always in the car I have 2-3. I drink it at room temperature too altho' someone once told me that cold/ice water raises your metabolism a bit to get it warmed up. Not a significant difference that I could see. - 6/11/2009   1:08:40 AM
  • 72
    I have to add a 'warning'. In the instance of heart patients with current poor circulation or a pace maker? Over indulging in liquids can be just as dangerous as not getting enough. - 6/10/2009   10:02:31 PM
  • JENGEE2
    71
    I agree water is most important - I dehydrate quickly enough as I must take fluid tablets - they make a loo break VERY essential and very ofton on their own. I also find if I don't keep the water up WHEN taking the tablets I suffer dizzy spells, so i cop both lots of loo trips.

    Even so - I agree that drinking 8 glasses min is important for all sorts of reasons to keep your body healthy. - 6/10/2009   8:07:17 PM
  • 70
    There is no doubt about the importance of drinking lots of water - we can survive for weeks without food but (I think I'm correct in this) but less than two days, depending on evironmental factors, without water.

    Brings to mind one of the old Star Trek episodes in which a crystiline life form refers to humans as (and I'm paraphrasing here) "big ugly bags of mostly water". That's probably how we would appear, I think. - 6/10/2009   6:54:35 PM
  • NANABABY5
    69
    Water, the healthy liquid that keeps us alive ! So glad to see this article. I don't like my water too cold either; I find it goes down a bit better at room temp. (That's just me though :) And, if I get tierd of plain water...I just add a little crystal lite to it, and jazz it up a notch!! - 6/10/2009   5:52:28 PM
  • 68
    I get SPmail from team mates who dont like to drink water.. I let them know how much our body needs it.. I hope they read this Blog!!.. - 6/10/2009   4:36:34 PM
  • 67
    Good to know! I do have trouble getting all my water in though. Even though I know how super important it is! :( - 6/10/2009   3:25:22 PM
  • 66
    I also heard for every soda or beer or coffee you drink, you should drink twice as much water - ie: If you drink 12oz of soda, then it should be followed with 24oz of water. - 6/10/2009   1:33:05 PM
  • 65
    About 10 years ago, I went camping, and was drinking very little water, and a lot of sodas that day. The altitude of the campsite, plus the lack of water, made me so sick. After I went to sleep, I woke up every hour to throw up. In the morning, my dad took me to the emergency room, where they put an IV in me, told me I was just dehydrated. Ever since then, I've always been good about drinking plenty of water, sometimes more than 8 glasses a day. Someone once told me that "If your lips are dry, you're already dehydrated." - 6/10/2009   1:30:07 PM
  • AKARTIST1
    64
    I have had trouble with atrial fibrillation (heart arrythmias) for about 5 or 6 years. Recently I went to the ER with atrial fibrillation; after using a whole bag of IV fluids my heart went back into rhythm. The Dr. thought perhaps some of the AF symptoms were caused by dehydration. - 6/10/2009   1:16:09 PM
  • 63
    While I totally agree that getting enough water is crucial for your health, I wonder if this study is just showing a correlation, not cause and effect. I have a feeling that the people who are getting enough water also tend to have other healthy habits and eat more healthfully, especially by drinking less soda and other "bad for you" drinks. I'd like to hear more on the science behind the study. - 6/10/2009   9:28:33 AM
  • 62
    I'm not surprised by this article, but I was glad to have the information! I drink only water or skim milk. I have always been complimented on my clear skin, and I think that (besides good genes) I would attribute it to all the water I drink (between 80 and 120 ounces per day). I have never been a tea or coffee afficionado, and I gave up soda almost 2 years ago. - 6/10/2009   8:36:06 AM
  • 61
    Like everyone has said...all the more reason to keep up the water drinking! - 6/10/2009   7:56:02 AM
  • BRENDACW
    60
    I love water. If you can get yourself used to drinking eight glasses per day, then you will crave the water much the way you crave other drinks. - 6/10/2009   7:04:10 AM
  • 59
    Not surprised! - 6/10/2009   7:03:32 AM
  • 58
    Nothing better or more satisfying that a cool drink of h20!!!!! My favorite beverage. - 6/10/2009   5:58:53 AM
  • 57
    Love water with a twist of lemon, lime, orange, or any citrus. - 6/10/2009   3:42:32 AM
  • 56
    I have to admit I'm surprised - at the conclusion that other liquids didn't have the same effect! But again, I'm also wondering if it's all inter-related - after all, a person who drinks plenty of water is also likely to have OTHER healthy habits, like eating healthy food and getting in regular exercise. I'd love to know more about the study, in order to see what factors were kept constant!

    Cheers,
    Maya
    - 6/10/2009   3:03:44 AM
  • 55
    Was a surprise to me. Was never a water drinker until now. - 6/10/2009   1:19:51 AM
  • TAMARARW
    54
    I've been a big water drinker for many years now. I noticed a few people asking about having to go to the bathroom a lot - I had that problem but it goes away as your body gets used to getting what it needs, enough water! I don't know the science behind it but everyone I've ever convinced to stick with the water habit got past it too. Our bodies just need a little time to get used to it. Hope everyone sticks with it! - 6/10/2009   1:01:53 AM
  • 53
    My beverage of choice is : plain water with lemon. I have not drank soda in 11 years and I don't miss it. - 6/9/2009   11:41:51 PM
  • 52
    My mother taught me to always have a glass of water beside me. I do drink ice tea with lemon, but I limit my coffee to maybe two to three cups a day. But on the average I drink anywhere from ten to fourteen glasses of water a day as I work around the house. - 6/9/2009   10:53:29 PM
  • 51
    It's funny to me when people say it's hard for them to drink water hello that all our ancestors drank and they were fine. Sugary drinks have been a health demons since they were invented. - 6/9/2009   10:47:13 PM
  • 50
    I am trying to increase how much I drink but I do have a question... don't you find you spend an AWFUL lot of time in the bathroom if you drink that much water? I have gotten myself up to 6 glasses a day but this is from a startpoint of ZERO so I think I am doing pretty good. But my gosh, I pee like a racehorse!

    - 6/9/2009   10:44:51 PM
  • 49
    We all know that H2O is good for you and the benefits are many. This study doesn't surprise me. But for the sake of another point of view I recently read a study that said that the benefits of drinking all that water was no different than people who got liquid from other sources. Say iced tea, fruit and vegetables give you lots of water, etc. The point of the article was that it is hard for some people to drink a half a gallon of water a day. As long as the body was hydrated it seemed to function fine. I'm kind of mixed. Its hard for me to drink plain water. I make Crystal Light drinks and drink green tea, Jasmine tea, and lots of fruits and veggies. I also drink about 4-5 glasses of water a day. After a workout, water is the one that satisfies best. Living in Phoenix, and in the summer, you drink fluids constantly. Its just what we do. - 6/9/2009   10:14:27 PM
  • 48
    When my girls were growing up, we were one of the only families to have a fridge with a water dispenser on the outside. Children who came over to play were always surprised we didn't have cool aid or soda or some other equally unhealthy beverage. I told them water was our favorite drink and we had a special way of getting it. The girls loved showing them our personal "soda fountain" and all the children who visited our home looked forward to coming back so they could serve themselves water from the refrigerator door. I always knew it was one of the best gifts I ever gave my girls, besides loving them, and never putting salt in their food or putting the sugar bowl on the table. - 6/9/2009   9:55:28 PM
  • BUFFEDSTUFF-
    47
    Well, I don't know about the studies but I know water has greatly enhanced my health. It does this body good. - 6/9/2009   9:48:21 PM
  • 46
    Yea, I'm surprised by this one. - 6/9/2009   9:42:47 PM
  • 45
    yes I am surprised. - 6/9/2009   8:39:35 PM
  • 44
    In the words of Robert Parker's Detective character-Spenser "Good to know". - 6/9/2009   8:30:33 PM
  • 43
    Thank you for this information!
    Water is my main beverage and I am happy to find out it offers me even more healthful benefits. - 6/9/2009   7:58:17 PM
  • 42
    Thanks for this article, but I knew that drinking water is good for the health.
    More than the heart, it's good for other aliments that you may have.

    It keeps me alive because my health problem that I have I have to drink more water than the average person to give my blood the oxygen that I need.

    This is the best beverage I enjoy drinking. - 6/9/2009   7:50:41 PM
  • 41
    Any additional good results from drinking water is ok with me.
    :o) - 6/9/2009   7:23:18 PM
  • 40
    Since last year I've been drinking 8 to 15 glasses a day of water. The Drs. say its healthy for you so do what the Drs. tell you. They know best. - 6/9/2009   7:15:16 PM
  • 39
    This is NOT really surprising to me. - 6/9/2009   6:55:18 PM
  • 38
    Drinking water is good for a human body, which is 90%+ made up of water and drinking 40oz of water daily is very easy. Does it matter whether the study is accurate or not? I don't think so. If it happens to be right, then great. If not, then we are still healthier than if we don't drink the 5 glasses of water. - 6/9/2009   6:52:01 PM
  • 37
    whether true or not, I know that drinking water is best for me. I never drink less than 12 glasses per day and usually have 14-15 glasses every day. - 6/9/2009   6:50:58 PM
  • JAMIESJEWELS13
    36
    If this is true, I am super excited!! I aim for 8 glasses of water a day but usually get 12 or more! However, I may be a little bit skeptical... - 6/9/2009   6:05:50 PM
  • CRAZYFEET
    35
    This is one more reminder that small things make a big difference in our lives! - 6/9/2009   5:58:15 PM
  • 34
    I know water makes a difference to me. When I gave blood one time, it took forever and the nurse told me that I needed to have lots to drink before I went. At work, if I am too busy to go to the staff room to get a glass now and then, I find myself headachy and tired. - 6/9/2009   5:17:59 PM
  • 33
    I can't do without water. My husband got me a free coffee mug (I used it for hot water) from work and I keep telling him that's the best gift he'd ever given me (annoys him, but that's true) because I don't go anywhere without it. It goes into the car, goes to work with me, the gym, meetings, and even on road trips. I see my mug more often than my husband. Can't image drinking less than 10 cups a day. Gonna love water! - 6/9/2009   4:51:59 PM

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