CPR First Aid

Effects of Dehydration on Heart Rate

Did you know the effects of dehydration on heart rate? In this blog you would specifically know how and why it happens.

You might be surprised to learn that dehydration can significantly affect your heart rate. In actuality, even slight dehydration might increase heart rate. This is because, in order to maintain blood flow and fluid balance, the body’s natural response to dehydration is to raise blood pressure and heart rate. In this article, we’ll talk about the effects of dehydration on heart rate as well as ways to avoid it.

What is a Normal Heart Rate?

Your heart works more challenging if you’re dehydrated. Dehydration can increase the strain on your heart as the muscle tries to compensate. Your blood volume (the amount of blood flowing through your body) and blood pressure reduces. Your heart beats more quickly (tachycardia), raising your heart rate and giving you heart palpitations. Additionally, more sodium is retained in your blood, making it more difficult to flow through your body.

According to Mayo Clinic, adults’ normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular health. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate of closer to 40 beats per minute.

To measure your heart rate, check your pulse. Place your index and middle fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe (carotid pulse). To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist ( radial pulse ).

When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.

Keep in mind that many factors can influence heart rate, including:

  • Age
  • Fitness and activity levels
  • Being a smoker
  • Having cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes
  • Air temperature
  • Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
  • Emotions
  • Body size
  • Various health conditions, heart diseases, and heart problems
  • Medications
  • Although there’s a wide range of normal, an unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or if you’re not a trained athlete and your resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness, or shortness of breath. It is best to have a doctor check an irregular heartbeat.

Your heart works more challenging if you're dehydrated. Dehydration can increase the strain on your heart as the muscle tries to compensate. Your blood volume (the amount of blood flowing through your body) and blood pressure reduces.

Importance of Hydration to Our Hearts

According to the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council, water makes up between 50% and 80% of the human body, making it the single largest component and essential to almost all biological processes. Your heart health depends on proper hydration.

Blood is continuously pumped by your heart throughout your body. It pumps around 7,600 gallons daily while beating an average of 72 times per minute. Your heart works harder and can pump blood to your muscles more easily when there is enough water in the body. Your muscles can then function more effectively as a result. On the other hand, when you are dehydrated, your heart beats faster and works harder than usual. This is to compensate for the blood flow needed in the body.

Complications of Dehydration to the Heart

Dehydration adds strain to the heart and makes it work double time. This is because the lack of fluids means that here is also decreased blood volume going through the body.

Existing heart conditions can exacerbate the dehydration problems to the heart. Any changes to a person’s heart rhythm or an arrhythmia can be triggered if a person is not hydrated enough.

Those without existing conditions shouldn’t neglect hydration. A low hydration level can lead to chest pains, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and heart failure among others. It is clear that one of the factors that contributes to a heart-healthy person is proper hydration.

If any heart conditions worsen due to being dehydrated, head to the nearest healthcare facility.

Signs You Are Not Properly Hydrated

There are several signs of dehydration to look out for. Most people immediately feel mild dehydration when they have parched throats or a dry mouth. As it continues to grow more severe, people start to feel a bout of lightheadedness.

Symptoms of severe dehydration include the former two symptoms. Additional ones include having a fever, a quickened heart rate, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle cramps, and little to no urine.

Any of these symptoms of dehydration will warrant some action. Follow these actions to avoid dehydration and the various complications it can bring.

How to Avoid Dehydration and Other Complications

With how serious dehydration and its complications are, it is best to avoid it altogether. For starters, it is best to be mindful of the weather. Hot weather conditions provide an increased risk of dehydration and even heatstroke.

It is also best to be mindful of other risk factors that might trigger complications or affect hydration. A person’s physical activity, obesity, and electrolyte or potassium and calcium imbalance, all can play a significant part to fluid loss and subsequently, staying healthy.

Naturally, people who are overweight can turn to weight loss. Those with deficiencies can take supplements or even sports drinks for electrolyte imbalance.

Finally, ensure that if you are taking any medications, that none of these affect your hydration. Medications such as diuretics can significantly affect how hydrated a person is.

Recommended Daily Water Intake

The  Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council recommend the consumption of water for adults. The body must retain a minimal amount to maintain a tolerable solute load for the kidneys. Excluding perspiration, the normal water turnover is approximately 4% of total body weight in adults. In a 70 kg adult, this is equivalent to 2,500-3,000 mL/day.

The  Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council recommend the consumption of water for adults. The body must retain a minimal amount to maintain a tolerable solute load for the kidneys. Excluding perspiration, the normal water turnover is approximately 4% of total body weight in adults. In a 70 kg adult, this is equivalent to 2,500-3,000 mL/day.

When You’re More Active, Should You Drink Extra Water?

You lose bodily fluid while removing heat from the body when sweat evaporates from your skin. It would be best to start rehydration by ensuring continuous fluid intake when exercising. This will help to replace the fluids you lose through perspiration. Ensure that you are drinking water to lower your chance of developing heat exhaustion while maintaining regular bodily functions and performance levels.

You lose bodily fluid while removing heat from the body when sweat evaporates from your skin. It would be best to consume fluids when exercising to replace the fluids you lose through perspiration. Doing this can lower your chance of developing heat exhaustion while maintaining regular bodily functions and performance levels.

Ways to Drink More Water

  1. Be aware of your recommended water intake.
  2. Carry a water bottle with you, or leave one at your desk/workspace.
  3. Set a goal daily.
  4. You can use an app to track your water intake.
  5. Add freshly cut fruit to your water jug or bottle for some flavour.
  6. Set reminders on your phone to have a glass of water.
  7. Keep an easily accessible jug of water in your fridge.
  8. Sip throughout the day.
  9. Drink a glass of water after waking up and before bed.
  10. Drink a glass of water for at least 30 minutes before eating.
  11. Switch one of your tea/coffee breaks to water instead.

First Aid Courses in Brisbane

Risks of dehydration, hypertension, and hypotension can be prevented. Early detection of signs and symptoms will help you manage it. If you are interested in enrolling in a first aid course in Brisbane, contact CPR First Aid for more information.

CPR First aid courses and training are open to all since emergencies such as complications caused by dehydration can happen to all ages, anywhere in Australia. HLTAID010 Providing basic emergency life support is one of our popular courses. Contact us anytime for your queries.

About CPR First Aid

RTO No. 21903: CPR First Aid was founded in 2007. We specialise in providing first aid training in CPR, asthma, and anaphylaxis for various workplaces, including childcare, schools, and other industries in NSW, VIC, SA, WA, and QLD. We are a Registered Training Organisation with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (No 21903). Our courses and Units are VET-accredited for workplaces in Australia.

Conclusion

Dehydration can significantly affect your heart rate. Even slight dehydration might increase heart rate. This is because, in order to maintain blood flow and fluid balance, the body’s natural response to dehydration is to raise blood pressure and heart rate. The consequences of dehydration on the heart increase the strain on your heart as the muscle tries to compensate.

Prevention of dehydration is vital. Drink your water between 2.1 to 2.6 litres for adults and 1 to 1.6 litres for children daily. When dehydration occurs, it is best to perform first aid effectively. Hope you learned the first aid tips for dehydration. Learning is fun; you can join us in our CPR First Aid Australia Training for more first aid tips!

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