Can Drinking Water Help Prevent a Stroke?

Reviewed on 11/13/2020

Can drinking water help prevent a stroke?

Drinking more water may help prevent a stroke.
Drinking more water may help prevent a stroke.

Many studies have proven that proper hydration at the time of a stroke is linked to better stroke recovery.

It is possible that dehydration causes blood to be thicker. Viscous blood causes the body to retain sodium and increases blood pressure.

Drinking enough water regularly prevents dehydration. This may play a role in keeping the blood less viscous, which in turn prevents a stroke. However, this does not mean overhydrating is a healthy habit. Drinking too much water may be dangerous too, especially in people with heart and kidney conditions. Also, drinking water during stroke symptoms may cause choking, so caution needs to be exercised.

A stroke occurs due to the obstruction of blood flow to the brain. Two types of strokes obstruct the blood flow to the brain.

  • Ischemic stroke: This type of stroke occurs due to the formation of clots.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: This type of stroke results in bleeding of the brain.

Some irreversible factors, such as age and family history, are likely to increase the risk of a stroke.

What are other ways to prevent a stroke?

Here are several other ways to start reining in your risks today to prevent a stroke, before the stroke attacks

  • Treating hypertension: Hypertension is the most potent risk factor for a stroke. It increases the risk of a stroke by two- to four-fold before the age of 80. Hypertension thickens the artery walls and leads to the deposition of cholesterol or other fats to form plaques. High blood pressure can weaken the arteries and can make them burst, leading to hemorrhagic stroke. Several methods to control high blood pressure include
    • Maintaining a proper weight
    • Avoiding drugs that raise blood pressure
    • Cutting down on salt
    • Eating fruits and vegetables to increase potassium levels
    • Exercising more
    • Monitoring and controlling blood pressure
  • Quitting cigarette smoking: Cigarette smoking causes a two-fold increase in the risk of ischemic stroke and a four-fold increase in the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Cigarette smoking can increase the risk of a stroke in the following ways
    • Build-up of fatty substances in the carotid artery (central neck artery) supplying blood to the brain increases the risk of a stroke.
    • Nicotine from the cigarette raises blood pressure and carbon monoxide in the smoke reduces the oxygen supply to the brain.
    • It thickens the blood leading to clot formation.
    • It promotes aneurysm formation.

            Medications or therapy may help a patient quit cigarette smoking.

            Medications, medical procedures and surgery can treat these disorders. 

  • Limit alcohol: High alcohol content can raise blood pressure and triglycerides. Limiting alcohol to one glass per day can help reduce the side effects. Drinking wine once a day can protect the heart and brain as it has resveratrol.
  • Treat diabetes: Diabetes can damage the blood vessels over time, leading to clot formation inside the blood vessels. It can increase the risk of a stroke by two to four times. High blood sugar management involves
    • Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels
    • Taking antidiabetic medications
  • Exercise more: Exercise helps reduce both weight and blood pressure. Exercise at a moderate intensity at least five times a week.
    • Walk daily for 30 minutes.
    • Use the stairs instead of the elevators.
    • When you exercise, exercise until you breathe hard.
    • If you cannot exercise for 30 minutes continuously, break it up into 10- to 15-minute sessions a few times each day.
  • Cut cholesterol levels: High cholesterol can clog the arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke. Diet, exercise and cholesterol-lowering medications may keep the cholesterol level in check.

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References
Medscape Medical Reference

The Heart Foundation


Harvard Medical School


NINDS


American Heart Association


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