Not drinking enough water may shorten your life, suggests new study



Researchers are keen on finding ways to slow aging and also detect habits that can speed up the natural aging process.

A new research from the Lancet suggests that dehydration can contribute to faster aging and ending life too soon.

On the other hand, older adults who are properly hydrated may live longer than those who aren’t, and have less health complications like heart and lung disease.

​About the study

Researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that staying hydrated might slow down the aging process. They tracked data over three decades on more than 11,200 adults who took part in the study. Participants were seen over five visits — two in their 50s, and the last between the ages of 70 and 90.

​How hydration levels are determined

The researchers used a serum sodium test to determine a person’s hydration and find out if they are dehydrated. The test checks how much sodium is in someone’s blood. According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal sodium level in a person’s blood should be between 135–145 millimoles per liter.

Findings to note

The researchers found that sodium levels higher than 144 millimoles per liter were linked to a 21% increased risk of premature mortality. Sodium levels of 142 millimoles per liter or more were linked to a 39% higher risk of chronic disease.

This means that people with serum sodium levels of 142 mmol/l or higher have a greater chance of dying prematurely or developing a chronic health condition. So, according to the research, being chronically dehydrated can shorten your lifespan.

Even though staying hydrated is not the only key to a long life, it is definitely a step in the right direction for a healthier body.

How much water should you drink in a day?

According to the US CDC, there is no recommendation for how much plain water someone should drink. In general, experts recommend drinking at least six to eight cups of water per day. The National Academies for Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, US, recommends consumption of 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid per day for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women.

​Key takeaway

To stay hydrated, try to consistently drink plenty of water and fluids throughout the day, especially if you have an active routine. If you suspect your body is dehydrated, talk to your doctor on how you can remain healthily hydrated throughout the day.

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