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 blood pressure as well.
Your body is composed of 60 per cent water. Many major organs like skin, heart, kidneys, brain, muscles, etc., and their functions are dependent on adequate fluid presence. Water in your body helps in (1)-
- Growing cells
- Delivering oxygen
- Regulating temperature
- Aids in cognitive development
- Making up blood volume
- 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.
Now, let’s talk about the relation between dehydration and blood pressure.
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 blood vessels to constrict which can ultimately lead to an increase in blood pressure (as mentioned in Kumar & Clark clinical medicine).
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 (2). This can ultimately cause cell starvation (due to lack of nutrients and oxygen) resulting in fatigue and weakness. An adequate blood flow is essential to be able to reach all the body tissues.
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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.
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 fibre, and a balance of all nutrients incorporated. Some good heart-healthy foods are-
- Green leafy vegetables
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.
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.
In severe cases like during a hypertensive crisis, rush to your doctor immediately. Upon a medical diagnosis, your doctor might prescribe you oral medications
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.