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How Dehydration Impacts Type 2 Diabetes Management and Risk

Dehydration and Type 2 Diabetes | Med Supply US

Understanding the Relationship Between Dehydration and Type 2 Diabetes

This article, originally featured on Everyday Health and republished with permission, delves into the intricate connection between dehydration and Type 2 Diabetes. Dehydration, a condition familiar to many, not only leads to feelings of fatigue and irritability but also impedes the optimal circulation of blood to vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys, and muscles.

Renowned expert Robert Rizza, MD, an emeritus professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, points out that this compromised state negatively impacts the overall function of these organs. Notably, there is emerging evidence linking mild to moderate dehydration with diminished blood vessel function and the regulation of blood pressure, even in individuals without preexisting health conditions, as highlighted in a comprehensive review.

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Impact of Dehydration and Type 2 Diabetes Management

For those grappling with Type 2 Diabetes, dehydration takes on an even greater significance. This is due to the fact that dehydration induces a drop in blood pressure while prompting the body to release stress hormones like norepinephrine and epinephrine. These hormonal responses can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, a fact elucidated by Rizza. The interplay between high blood sugar and increased bathroom visits, as mentioned by the Mayo Clinic, fosters a cyclical pattern of exacerbated dehydration.

A study conducted on a limited sample of men subjected to an oral glucose tolerance test across varying hydration levels revealed a concerning relationship. Among individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, a mere three days of inadequate water intake (ranging from 17 to 34 ounces per day) led to compromised blood sugar response. This effect was attributed to heightened cortisol levels, a stress hormone that triggers glucose release.

In contrast, those who adhered to recommended water intake guidelines, averaging around 100 ounces, demonstrated improved blood sugar control. Although further research is essential to comprehensively understand the ramifications of chronic dehydration on metabolic metrics, individuals managing diabetes are advised to adhere to the water consumption recommendations outlined by the National Academy of Sciences: 91 ounces daily for women and 125 ounces for men, with a portion obtained from water-rich foods. Please fill out this form to determine whether or not you or a friend are eligible for a CGM.

Exploring the Potential Link Between Dehydration and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

While dehydration is recognized as a precursor to serious health challenges, limited research has delved into the potential connection between persistent dehydration, heightened blood sugar, and the elevated risk of prediabetes or full-fledged Type 2 Diabetes.

Robert Rizza underscores that dehydration has been associated with various issues, yet not specifically with diabetes. However, Anna Simos, MPH, a certified diabetes care and education specialist from Stanford Health Care’s Diabetes Education and Prevention Program, suggests a possible correlation. A study spanning nine years and observing healthy adults established an inverse relationship between self-reported water intake and the risk of elevated blood sugar. This implies that individuals consuming less than half a liter of water per day faced a higher risk of elevated blood sugar compared to those exceeding 1 liter.

The mechanism underlying this connection involves the hormone vasopressin, which is augmented during dehydration. This hormone triggers water retention by the kidneys and prompts the liver to produce blood sugar. These effects can potentially disrupt insulin regulation over time. It’s pertinent to note that while some research suggests a relationship, a specific link between dehydration and Type 2 Diabetes remains inconclusive. Notably, dehydration has been definitively linked to kidney stones.

Prioritizing Hydration for Effective Type 2 Diabetes Management

While a complete understanding of how dehydration intricately affects individuals with Type 2 Diabetes remains a topic of ongoing research, the significance of staying hydrated cannot be overstated for overall well-being.

In light of this, Robert Rizza and Anna Simos offer practical suggestions for ensuring adequate water intake in diabetes management:

Moderate Salt Intake: While excessive salt intake can negatively impact blood pressure, a balanced amount is essential for maintaining hydration. Proper electrolyte balance, crucial for bodily functions, is supported by salt intake. For individuals with high blood pressure, consultation with a healthcare provider regarding optimal salt consumption is advised.

Monitor Blood Glucose in Hot Conditions: High temperatures increase the risk of dehydration. Regularly checking blood glucose levels during such conditions and increasing water intake as necessary can aid in managing insulin levels, as mentioned by Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Choose Hydrating Snacks: Opt for hydrating snacks when hunger strikes. Options like cold melon slices or frozen grapes not only satiate hunger but also contribute to hydration.

Respond to Thirst Signals: Paying heed to signals of thirst is imperative. Adequate hydration assists in effectively managing Type 2 Diabetes. Anna Simos stresses that dehydration compromises blood glucose equilibrium due to reduced fluid content in the bloodstream.

In essence, as research continues to unveil the intricate dynamics of dehydration and Type 2 Diabetes, maintaining hydration emerges as a cornerstone of effective diabetes management. An awareness of hydration’s impact can pave the way toward better overall health and diabetes control.

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Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

Watso JC, Farquhar WB. Hydration Status and Cardiovascular Function. Nutrients. August 2019.

Diabetes Symptoms: When Diabetes Symptoms Are a Concern. Mayo Clinic. June 27, 2023.

Johnson EC, Bardis CN, Jansen LT, et al. Reduced Water Intake Deteriorates Glucose Regulation in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrition Research. July 2017.

In order to preserve health and cut down on the likelihood of developing chronic diseases, a report has established recommended daily intake levels for water, salt, and potassium. National Academy of Sciences. February 11, 2004.

Roussel R, Fezeu L, Bouby N, et al. Low water intake is associated with an increased risk of developing new-onset hyperglycemia. Diabetes Care. December 1, 2011.

Armstrong LE. The Obstacles in the Way of Establishing a Connection Between Chronic Dehydration and Fluid Intake and Health Outcomes. Nutrition Reviews. November 2012.

Fluid and Electrolyte Balance. MedlinePlus. June 20, 2016.

Dehydration and Heat Stroke. Johns Hopkins Medicine.