What Is Dehydration?
Dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. Symptoms generally become noticeable with mild dehydration which is the loss of 1- 2% of one’s normal water volume.
What Causes Dehydration?
At Optimum Health , the main cause for dehydration is drinking less water than is needed. Your need is based on your size and the amount of sweating you do. A protein deficiency is what we have found to be the main reason why people drink less water than they need.
Can Dehydration Cause High Blood Pressure?
Absolutely. Dehydration can cause high blood pressure. Think of cooking oatmeal with plenty of water in the pot. Once the oatmeal is cooked, you can turn the pot upside down and the oatmeal will run out of the pot. Why? Because gravity is strong enough to pull the oatmeal from the pot. If you put too little water in the pot when cooking the oatmeal, the oatmeal will not run out of the pot when you turn it upside down. Why? Because gravity is not strong enough to pull the thick oatmeal from the pot.
This is what happens when you don’t drink enough water and end up dehydrated. When you don’t drink enough water, you don’t put enough water in your blood causing your blood to become too thick. When the heart squeezes and pushes the thick blood up into the aorta, the blood has to fall down out of the aorta where the aorta bends. This is the equivalent of turning the pot of oatmeal upside down.
“I can keep up with my children again.
My blood pressure stays normal!”
Gloria C, Richmond, Virginia
How Do I Know If Dehydration Leads To High Blood Pressure?
When I first heard the explanation of how dehydration leads to high blood pressure, I remember thinking, “This sounds good, but as my professor used to say, “There is nothing like an ugly little fact to mess up a perfectly beautiful theory”. As if reading my mind, lecturer went on to explain that Chinese medicine represents the heart as wood that is burning. If a wood fire is burning too high (the heart working too hard) what do you do to slow it down? You put water on the fire. In the same way, you would drink more water to slow the burning of the wood or, in other words, lower the blood pressure.
Well, how does western medicine view it? When a person has high blood pressure, they are often given diuretics to make them urinate. Drinking more water will make you urinate. They are also given blood thinners. Drinking more water will thin your blood. Finally, they are often given calcium channel blockers to prevent the muscles from squeezing the blood vessels. Drinking the water to thin the blood will prevent the need for these muscle to squeeze. Makes sense doesn’t it!
“I feel wonderful. I can walk long distances again and my
blood pressure sits right at 121/80.”
Valerie G, Richmond, Virginia
Please take your high blood pressure medicine! Drinking lots of water does not mean that you get to just stop taking your high blood pressure medicine. High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it kills without notice. Therefore, keep taking your medicine while you monitor your blood pressure closely and keep good records to present to your physician. Increase your water to the proper amount. Tell your physician what you are doing and that you want him/her to be on alert that your pressure should be monitored closely and that your medicine may need to be decreased. As time goes by, your pressure should keep dropping to normal. At that point, the medicine will make your blood pressure too low and your physician will, eventually, take you off of all of your high blood pressure medicines. We have this happen time and time again at our center.
“I feel great! Even better, my doctor has taken me off 3 of my
blood pressure medicines and decreased the last one.”
Forestine B, Heathsville, Virginia
There are times when drinking the proper amount of water will not eliminate your high blood pressure. This is another reason why you should continue to take your medicine. If you are one of the people whose blood pressure does not normalize with drinking water, recognize that you have eliminated one of the reasons for your high blood pressure. Then consider some of the other root causes for high blood pressure such as mercury exposure from amalgams (the silver or black colored fillings) in your teeth.
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