When you think about water and blood pressure the link between dehydration and low blood pressure probably comes to mind. Dehydration is a potential cause of low blood pressure (hypotension) due to resulting decreased blood volume leading to reduced pressure against artery walls.
However, did you know not drinking enough water can lead to high blood pressure?
When you do not drink adequate water the body will compensate by retaining sodium. That should be a red flag. Sodium is directly related to high blood pressure.
While this sodium retention takes place, the persistent dehydration will lead the body to gradually ‘close' some of the capillary beds. This leads to increased pressure places on arteries and a rise in blood pressure.
Here are three steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure that is caused by dehydration.
1. Drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
If you already have high blood pressure you goal may be even higher. However, if you have kidney issues consult your doctor.
2. Don't drink too much.
You can go overboard on water intake and the body can only take so much. If you currently do not drink a large quantity of water, you'll want to increase your intake gradually so your body can adapt. Drinking more than 96 ounces of water daily can place increased stress on your digestive system and kidneys.
3. Drink water when you exercise.
You need to replenish the water stores lost during exercise via sweat and evaporation. Be sure to drink adequate water before, during, and after exercise.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following:
- Drink 16 ounces (2 cups) of fluid two hours before exercise.
- Drink water every 15 minutes during exercise sessions that last less than an hour.
- Never restrict fluids during exercise!
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