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Can Dehydration Cause High Blood Pressure?

Can Dehydration Cause High Blood Pressure?

The human body is complex. As much as it is capable of handling severe health atrocities, it loses control when you fail to understand its basic needs. 

Dehydration is one of the outcomes of fluid imbalance when your body does not have enough fluid and electrolytes. 

Your body loses more electrolytes and fluid than it takes in if you are dehydrated. This can lead to many side effects like fatigue, muscle cramps, mental confusion, and surprisingly, a rise in your blood pressure as well.

Our body is composed of 60 percent water. Many of our major organs like skin, heart, kidneys, brain, muscles, etc., and their functions are dependent on adequate fluid presence. Water in our body helps in –

  • Growing cells
  • Delivering oxygen
  • Regulating temperature
  • Aids in cognitive development
  • Flush toxins out of the body

Dehydration affects the body’s functions in a very negative way. Without adequate fluid balance, any of these tasks would not be completed in time, creating a massive imbalance and detour of energies.

Dehydration affects most of the important body organs and their functions, major being heart, hair, skin, muscle, kidneys, etc.

One of the most under-noticed repercussions of dehydration is a rise in blood pressure. 

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood flowing through the arterial walls. It is measured by 2 units-

  • Systolic blood pressure ( higher range).indicating the force exerted on arterial walls by the blood when the heart muscle contracts.
  • Diastolic blood pressure (lower range), referring to the force exerted by blood  to the force of blood when the heart rests between beats.

According to the American Heart Association, the blood pressure readings goes as follows-

Blood pressure Systolic (high range) Diastolic (low range)
Normal Less than 120 mmHg Less than 80 mmHg
Elevated 121-29 mmHg Less than 80 mmHg
Hypertension Stage 1 130-139 mmHg 80-89 mmHg
Hypertension stage 2 140 mmHg or more 90 mmHg or more
Hypertensive crisis Higher than 180 mmHg Higher than 120 mmHg

Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (above normal ranges) are dangerous for the health of an individual. It can cause detrimental effects on body functions and can even lead to death in crisis cases.

The connection between dehydration and blood pressure

For many of us, the confusion lies in whether dehydration causes high or low blood pressure.

Well, dehydration can cause both a drop in blood pressure and a relative raise. The research, however, on the high blood pressure caused due to dehydration is limited.

So, how dehydration affects blood pressure and pulse?

It is observed that high blood pressure due to dehydration is caused by the hormone Vasopressin. It is released when the body has a high amount of sodium levels in the blood.

In the condition of dehydration, the kidneys try to reabsorb water and due to this, the urine output decreases significantly.

High concentrations of vasopressin can cause your blood vessels to constrict which can ultimately lead to an increase in blood pressure.

A very important fact to be noted here is that dehydration can cause a rise in blood pressure during pregnancy to a large extent. It can lead to anxiety and depression affecting both mother and child.

This is why it is advised that during pregnancy, adequate hydration needs to be taken care of in order to prevent the child from any birth deficits.

Dehydration, heart, and high blood pressure: Trio explained

The heart plays a central role in pumping and transferring blood throughout the body. Just like other systems, the cardiovascular system carries out the majority of its functions through the water.

Dehydration or lack of adequate fluids in the body straight away hampers the blood flow. The blood volume lowers down. 

Accordingly, the heart has to work more in order to pump blood thus increasing the heart rate. The higher sodium content in a dehydrated bloodstream causes capillaries to close and blood pressure to increase.

Dehydration and low blood pressure: What’s the catch?

Just like high blood pressure, dehydration can also cause low blood pressure. It is however not a very potential marker but if not paid attention to, can lead to detrimental outcomes.

Dehydration can cause low blood pressure due to a decrease in blood volume. An adequate blood flow is essential to be able to reach all the body tissues.

If you are dehydrated, your blood volume can decrease, leading to a drop in blood pressure. This can ultimately cause cell starvation (due to lack of nutrients and oxygen) resulting in fatigue and weakness.

Treatment of high blood pressure

It is not really a very big deal to control your blood pressure if you know the smart steps and make your efforts.

  • Stay hydrated as much as you can

It is suggested that drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water every day to keep yourself hydrated is the ideal move to control your blood pressure.

You can switch to water-infused fruits, energy drinks, sparkling water, decaffeinated beverages, smoothies etc. to maintain a normal fluid and electrolyte balance.

  • Heart-healthy diet

One of the most important changes you need to bring on is in your diet. Opt for a heart-healthy diet that is low in sugars and unhealthy fats, high in fiber, and a balance of all nutrients incorporated. Some good heart-healthy foods are-

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Oats
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Cherries
  • Flaxseeds
  • Milk

Physical activity

With high blood pressure comes the need of keeping your body active and working. Include at least 30 minutes of daily early morning physical exercise in your routine.

Additionally, make it a habit to take brisk walks in between your work to recharge yourself and maintain your body metabolism.

Healthy body weight

Maintain optimum body weight. Obesity is one of the major causes of high blood pressure apart from dehydration.

As discussed, a healthy weight can be maintained by opting for the right kind of diet and less binging on junk food. If you are into smoking or drinking, it is advised to quit them. 

Regular checkups

The Mayo Clinic suggests that you get a routine blood pressure check from time to time. at least every two years starting at age 18. 

A blood pressure reading every year is very necessary if you are having constant high blood pressure. It becomes all the more important if you are aged over 40.

Clinical treatments

In severe cases like during a hypertensive crisis, rush to your doctor immediately. Upon a medical diagnosis, your doctor might prescribe you oral medications

Bottom Line

Adequate consumption of water and fluids is the only best way you can prevent dehydration. Remember, in the process of keeping yourself hydrated, you are saving your body from many other ill effects that can occur due to dehydration and cause serious complications.

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