A new study suggests that older adults who don’t drink enough fluids could age more quickly and face a higher risk of disease. In the study, published in the journal eBioMedicine, researchers from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute collected data from over 11,000 adults who had their first medical visits between the ages of 45 and 66 and then followed them for 25 years. The researchers used sodium levels in the patients’ blood as an indicator for dehydration. The researchers found that the participants with blood sodium levels on the higher end of the range of normal were 50 percent more likely to show signs of physical aging beyond what would be expected for their age compared to people with lower sodium levels. They had a 20 percent higher risk of premature death. They also had higher risks for chronic diseases such as heart failure, stroke, diabetes and dementia. But more research is needed to prove that adequate hydration can slow aging and prevent disease as we get older.
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