Friday, April 20th, 2007...7:47 pm

water,more benefits

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Dr. Kensey, cardiologist and president of Visco Technologies

When it comes to your heart, drinking plenty of water actually lowers blood pressure, softens and liquefies blood cells, and helps the cells move through your arteries more easily.” Kenneth R. Kensey, M.D.

the American Journal of Epidemiology (May 1, 2002). In this study, it was found that drinking five or more glasses of water a day, as compared to 2 or fewer, reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by about 50% (54 percent for men and 41 percent for women). The researchers believe that water helps to thin the blood, making it less likely to clot and cause blockages.

Dr. Kensey, , believes that damage to the arteries caused by thick, sticky blood is the primary cause of artery hardening. Most doctors recognize that thick blood is not healthy, but the idea that blood viscosity could be an important cause of artery disease is apparently new. Kensey makes a persuasive case for his view. What’s more, I don’t think many would disagree with his seven-step lifestyle plan to make the blood flow more smoothly through the body.

Dr. Kensey believes that hardening of the arteries is a mechanical problem. Thick, sludgy blood damages the arteries causing them to harden and thicken, which eventually leads to clotting and blockage. “I believe atherosclerosis occurs because your heart has pumped thickened blood at too high a pressure for too long, which physically injures certain regions of the arterial system, making the arteries hard and inflexible,” Dr. Kensey writes.

The primary cause of artery hardening and eventual clogging, according Dr. Kensey, is the way the arteries react to the mechanical injury. He says the arteries adapt in two ways, both bad.

First, the artery walls get tougher and harder to avoid further injury. The reduced flexibility makes the heart work harder pushing the blood through the vessel. The net result is higher blood pressure. Kensey says, it’s a “never-ending vicious cycle.” The arteries stiffen, the pressure goes up, and the cycle begins again.

Secondly, the “turbulent flow” of the blood begins to “erode” the lining of the artery. To protect itself, the artery forms a callus or plaque. “Unfortunately, when a callus forms, the ‘bump’ from the callus itself magnifies the turbulence of the blood flow, causing even more injury, so the callus gets larger,” Kensey explains. “This cycle continues until finally the callus is so big that it stops blood flow altogether, causing a heart attack or stroke.”

Water Protects Arteries

Dr. Kensey believes that many, perhaps most, adults go through life in a basically dehydrated state. That’s because our thirst sensation isn’t a very good early-warning indicator. Thirst probably doesn’t “correlate with blood viscosity any more than with dehydration,” says Dr. Kensey. By the time we feel thirsty, we’re already dehydrated and our blood is already thick. He recommends drinking 12 cups or three quarts of water each day, more for athletes or people who exercise. It’s especially important to drink some water at bedtime because, according to Dr. Kensey, heart attacks often occur in the morning when we are dehydrated and our blood is thicker than during the day. “If you have dark, highly-concentrated urine when you wake up, it’s a signal that your body is dehydrated,” Kensey warns.

Kensey predicts that further research will show that fluids play “a far more important role in blood viscosity than we ever realized.” Furthermore, he believes that drinking enough water helps to lower blood pressure. Interestingly, he says that diuretics (drugs to make you urinate), which many doctors used to prescribe to lower blood pressure, actually exacerbate the problem. “Many studies have a since shown that strokes were often the unfortunate consequence of this treatment,” says Kensey.

So, use common sense. Drink plenty of water, but don’t go overboard. According to Reuters, the military now sets the upper limit at 1 to 1- ½ quarts per hour or 12 quarts per day. They don’t recommend drinking that much.  Significantly, the limit or danger point set by the military is four times the amount recommended by Dr. Kensey. The 12 cups or three quarts Dr. Kensey recommends isn’t likely to get anyone in trouble.


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