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High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition caused by the persistent high pressure of blood against the walls of arteries. Over time, hypertension could cause serious medical conditions such as a heart attack or stroke. Fortunately, you can lower your blood pressure by ensuring you are drinking more water.
Maintaining a normal blood volume is necessary for blood to be able to adequately reach all of the tissues of the body.
When a person is very dehydrated, their blood volume can decrease, leading to a drop in blood pressure.
When blood pressure drops too low, one’s organs won’t receive the oxygen and nutrients they need, potentially putting them into shock.
According to Medicine Net, dehydration could affect blood pressure in a number of ways including:
Dehydration causes the blood to become thicker or viscous due to the reduced water content in the blood.
Dehydration causes the kidney to release renin. This results in sodium and water retention in the body to correct the low fluid volume. This response, if constant, can cause blood pressure to be high.
Dehydration causes the release of vasopressin hormone in the brain. This causes the blood vessels to narrow and sodium retention in the body. This results in high blood pressure.
If these effects remain constant in the body due to continuous dehydration, the brain trains itself to maintain a blood pressure higher than normal so that the organs receive blood supply. These changes over a longer period cause hypertension.
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Severe dehydration shrinks the blood vessels in the brain and when there aren’t high enough fluid levels in the brain, this affects memory and co-ordination.
Dehydration is also known to increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
This is due to the fact that the heart has to work harder when there’s less water in the blood.
Everyone needs to drink a different amount of water, said dietitian Juliette Kellow and nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer.
But women should be drinking around two litres of water every day, and two-and-a-half litres for men.
Signs you may not be drinking enough water and therefore increasing your risk of hypertension casualties include:
- Dry mouth
- Urinating less often
- Urine that’s dark in colour
- Feeling tired or fatigued
- Light-headedness or dizziness
Water intake affects blood pressure in two ways, said Dr Stephen Sinatra.
“First, when you don’t drink enough water, your body attempts to secure its fluid supply by retaining sodium. Sodium is your body’s ‘water-insurance mechanism’.
“At the same time, dehydration forces your body to gradually and systematically close down some of its capillary beds.
“When some capillary beds shut down, it puts more pressure in the ‘pipes’— your capillaries and arteries — elevating your blood pressure.
“So, one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure naturally is by staying well-hydrated.”
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