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Cropped shot of a young sportsman drinking water while running on riverbank. Warm sunset tones.||Infographic explaining the symptoms of dehydration including thirst, dry mouth, muscle cramps, fast heart rate, fatigue, headache and dizziness

Stay Hydrated: Protect Your Heart

How Dehydration Affects Your Heart

Is thinking about summer causing you to sweat? Be sure to replace those fluids to protect your heart. Dehydration puts you at risk for serious conditions like swelling, dizziness and heat illness. Your heart has to work overtime to pump blood when fluid levels dip too low. There is no magic number for how much liquid you need to drink to stay hydrated. It can vary day to day, depending on the weather and activity. However, if you’re feeling thirsty, your liquid levels are already too low.

How Do I Know if I'm Hydrated Enough?

Try drinking more fluids throughout the day. The goal is pale yellow urine. If it’s dark, the color of apple juice or darker, you’re dehydrated and not drinking enough. Also, steer clear of unneeded sugar and calories in fruit juice, soda and some sports drinks. Caffeine and alcohol cause you to lose even more fluid, so it’s best to stick to water. Only 10 percent of the population, those who perform 60-plus minutes of high-intensity exercise, require sports drinks to replace nutrients lost through sweating.

Tips to Stay Hydrated

If drinking more water is a struggle, try:

  • Drinking a glass of water whenever you need to take a pill.
  • Adding a slice of lemon, lime or orange to water.
  • Using low calorie flavoring mix.
  • Having a glass of water before exercising or going outside on a hot day.
  • Having a glass of water when you’re hungry—to make sure you’re truly hungry and not simply thirsty.
  • Drinking from a reusable water bottle throughout the day and keeping it close by. If it’s in your view, you’re more likely to pick it up and drink.

If chronic dehydration or any of the above symptoms are a concern, reach out to your primary care provider today.

Originally Published: April 2019. Revised May 2022. 

Danielle Wooldrik, DO, CAQSM
Danielle Wooldrik, DO, CAQSM

Danielle L. Wooldrik, DO, CAQSM is a primary care and sports medicine provider at CHI Health.

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