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Can Dehydration Cause High Blood Pressure?

The effect of dehydration on blood pressure is more complex than one might expect. This article explores how fluctuations in blood pressure can occur due to dehydration and what you can do to stay hydrated throughout the day. 
Can Dehydration Cause High Blood Pressure?


High Blood Pressure


When you have high blood pressure, your blood presses too forcefully against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure can result in a heart attack, stroke, renal disease, and other serious health problems if not managed.


Hydration & Dehydration Basics


Water makes up between 55% and 60% of the adult human body and accounts for 90% of total blood volume. It aids in waste removal and body temperature regulation, helps deliver oxygen to all parts of the body, lubricates the joints, maintains blood pressure, and more. Without it, your body would not be able to function properly. 


Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. It can happen when you don't drink enough or lose a large volume of fluids through sweating, urination, vomiting, or other bodily processes. More fluid is lost from the body than is taken in, which can upset the equilibrium of vital electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium and have detrimental effects on health.


Dehydration and Blood Pressure


Your blood pressure may increase or decrease due to dehydration, resulting in either high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension). 


When Dehydration Causes High Blood Pressure


Your body produces more of a substance called vasopressin when it is dehydrated. Vasopressin aids in kidney water retention, reducing water loss during urination. It also causes your blood vessels to tighten, raising your blood pressure. As this condition continues, high blood pressure may set in. Since your blood volume decreases when you are dehydrated, your heart has to beat faster, further raising your blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, dehydration can make your blood thicker and more concentrated, increasing blood pressure further in smaller vessels. 


When Dehydration Causes Low Blood Pressure


When dehydration progresses to an extreme level, it can result in a significant loss of fluids and cause a decrease in blood pressure, which may be even more risky. For example, if you have a severe case of diarrhea or vomiting, your blood volume can become dangerously low, and your organs won't receive the oxygen and nutrients they need. This could result in shock. 


It is important to note that minor changes in blood pressure due to dehydration are usually temporary and should return to normal once the body is adequately hydrated. However, if someone is experiencing severe dehydration or has underlying health conditions, changes in blood pressure can be more significant and may require medical attention.


What Are the Signs of Dehydration?


Dehydration frequently causes symptoms before it gets severe enough to affect your blood pressure. 


Common signs of dehydration include:

  • Severe thirst (during the day or at night)
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark or rust-colored urine
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Reduced frequency of urination
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Bad breath
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle aches/pains (especially at night)


If you experience any of the symptoms above, it's important to hydrate immediately. In general, you should drink water or other rehydration solutions slowly and steadily over several hours rather than all at once to allow the body to absorb the fluids properly. In mild cases of dehydration, drinking water can help rehydrate the body within a few hours. However, it may take longer in more severe cases.


How Much Water Should You Drink Daily?


By consuming large amounts of water throughout the day, you can avoid dehydration and lower your chance of developing high blood pressure. You should try to drink 64 ounces of water a day. This will help maintain blood pressure and result in other hydration-related health benefits.


What Additional Factors Contribute to High Blood Pressure?


Medical disorders or lifestyle choices can also contribute to high blood pressure. For example, drinking too many diuretics, like coffee or alcohol, that make you urinate more can lead to dehydration. Diuretics inhibit the release of an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) in the body. ADH works by helping the kidneys reabsorb water while preventing excessive urine production. Without ADH, the kidneys produce more urine and remove more bodily fluids, leading to dehydration.


Having uncontrolled diabetes or renal disease can lead to dehydration. High blood glucose levels in uncontrolled diabetes lead to excessive urine production and bodily fluid loss. The kidneys must work harder to filter excess glucose out of the blood, which results in the production of more urine. The increased fluid loss can lead to dehydration.


It is crucial for people with these conditions to keep an eye on their fluid intake and work closely with their healthcare provider.


The following are causes and risk factors for high blood pressure:

  • Being obese or overweight
  • Inadequate exercise
  • Smoking
  • Consuming a lot of salt
  • Potassium deficiency in the diet
  • Heavy drinking
  • Stress
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Slumber apnea
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney illness
  • An adrenal gland tumor
  • Use illegal substances like cocaine and methamphetamine
  • Using specific drugs, including birth control, antidepressants, and corticosteroids
  • Some evidence suggests that COVID-19 may be associated with high blood pressure


The majority of those with high blood pressure are unaware that they have it, so it's important to have your blood pressure checked during a routine physical or well-check visit. If you believe you may be at risk for high blood pressure, schedule a consultation with your doctor. Consider adding a supplement like Healthycell's Heart and Vascular Health to your diet to help support healthy blood pressure. With lifestyle changes, you can decrease your risk of a heart attack or stroke as a result of high blood pressure.


When to See a Physician


If you see any of the following signs, see a doctor right away:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea that has persisted for more than 24 hours
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Extreme perplexity
  • Extreme weariness or exhaustion
  • Stool that is dark or bloody
  • Distorted vision
  • Unsteadiness or faintness
  • Unconsciousness or fainting
  • Clammy, frigid skin
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Weak and rapid heartbeat


The above signs and symptoms could indicate acute dehydration or low blood pressure. Your doctor can do an examination and discuss several treatment options with you.


What are some strategies for staying hydrated?


There are many easy ways to stay hydrated throughout the day. Here are a few simple strategies you can try:

  1. Drink water regularly: Drinking water is the most obvious way to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day and sip on it regularly.
  2. Eat hydrating foods: Many fruits and vegetables are high in water content and can help keep you hydrated. Examples include watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, and celery.
  3. Limit caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can be dehydrating, so it's a good idea to limit your intake of these beverages and balance them out with plenty of water.
  4. Set reminders: If you find it difficult to remember to drink water throughout the day, try setting reminder notifications on your phone or using a hydration tracking app.
  5. Drink fluids with meals: Drinking water or other hydrating fluids with meals can help ensure you're getting enough fluids throughout the day.
  6. Monitor urine color: One simple way to check if you're hydrated is to monitor the color of your urine. Aim for light, straw-colored urine to ensure adequate hydration.


If you're worried you may be dehydrated and need to replenish your electrolytes, consider trying one of the following products:  Gatorlyte, Liquid IV, LMNT Keto Electrolyte Powder, or Pedialyte Powder. Some people even keep Electrolyte freezer pops in their freezer for a more enjoyable way to hydrate on warm days. 



About the Author


Dr. Giampapa is a world-renowned medical doctor, inventor, and surgeon specializing in anti-aging medicine. He recently received a nomination for the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking stem cell research, as well as the Edison Award for the Healthycell nutritional supplement for cell health. He was also awarded the A4M Science & Technology award for his development of the BioMarker Matrix Profile – the first computer program to measure aging. 

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