What Effects Dehydration May Have on Hyperglycemia Treatment and Risk
Your hydration status can impact how well you are able to control your blood sugar, as well as help manage blood sugar levels for those at risk of developing this condition, including hyperglycemia. While additional research is needed, it’s clear that not drinking enough water can make blood sugar regulation more challenging. Hydration should be prioritized in the management of blood sugar, however it’s unclear if dehydration raises the risk of prediabetes.
Does Dehydration Impact Organ Function?
Most of us have experienced dehydration at some level, whether it’s waking up with a dry mouth in the morning or not drinking enough while jogging on a hot day. When we don't get enough water, we not only feel sluggish and cranky, but our bodies are unable to pump enough blood to the heart, brain, kidneys, and muscles, according to Robert Rizza, MD, a Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science emeritus professor of medicine at Rochester, Minnesota. As a result, your organs don't function properly, according to Dr. Rizza. Even if you’re healthy, mild to moderate dehydration has been linked to reduced blood vessel function and blood pressure regulation, according to a report published in Nutrients in August 2019.
Dehydration as a Health Hazard for Hyperglycemia
Dehydration is especially harmful for patients with type 2 diabetes. This is because it lowers blood pressure and leads the body to generate stress hormones like norepinephrine and epinephrine, which can spike blood sugar, according to Rizza. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you have high blood sugar, you will frequently need to go to the toilet more, which contributes to greater dehydration and a vicious cycle.
Researchers looked at a small sample of males who underwent an oral glucose tolerance test in varied hydration statuses in a study published in Nutrition Research in July 2017. They discovered that merely three days of substandard water intake (about 20-30 ounces per day) impacted the blood glucose markers for those with type 2 diabetes. The effect of dehydration was most likely related to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which causes glucose release, as well as an increase in inflammatory biomarkers. Those who drank the recommended amount of water, roughly 100 ounces, showed improved blood glucose control.
One of the primary metabolic measurements that can be affected by dehydration in type 2 diabetes is blood glucose levels. Dehydration can cause blood glucose levels to rise, leading to hyperglycemia, a condition where blood glucose levels are abnormally high. This occurs because dehydration reduces the volume of blood, causing the concentration of glucose in the blood to increase. When blood glucose levels are high, it can cause damage to organs, nerves, and blood vessels, leading to complications such as kidney damage, nerve damage, and heart disease.
Dehydration can also affect insulin sensitivity, which is the body's ability to utilize insulin to balance glucose levels. When the body is dehydrated, the cells become less sensitive to insulin, making it more difficult for the body to manage insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. This can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body cannot use insulin effectively, causing blood glucose levels to remain elevated.
How Are Electrolytes Involved With Hydration?
Furthermore, dehydration can also affect the levels of electrolytes in the body, including sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These electrolytes play an important role in regulating various bodily functions, including the metabolism of glucose. When the body is dehydrated, the levels of electrolytes can become imbalanced, leading to further metabolic abnormalities. For instance, low levels of potassium can cause muscle weakness and cramps, while low levels of magnesium can contribute to insulin resistance. To maintain optimal electrolyte levels so you can feel energetic and perform at your best, have at least one electrolyte drink per day, such as Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus.
Can Dehydration Increase the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes For Those With Hyperglycemia?
Although dehydration can cause major health problems, few studies have been conducted to determine whether persistent dehydration — and the related elevated blood sugar — may raise the risk of hyperglycemia, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
A prior study that followed healthy persons for nine years found that self-reported water intake was inversely related to the risk of acquiring high blood sugar. This suggests that persons who reported drinking less water per day were more likely to have high blood sugar levels than those who reported drinking at least one liter.
Dehydration, according to scientists, can cause an increase in the hormone vasopressin, which causes the kidneys to retain water and the liver to create more sugar that is released into the blood, potentially compromising the body's capacity to regulate insulin over time.
Diabetes is a condition that has heavy kidney involvement. One thing that dehydration is known to be corrolate with is increased risk of kidney stones. While we don’t have a definitive answer on whether or not dehydration is a key risk factor for diabetes, maintinaning kidney health is important for balancing solutes in the blood, including sugar and electrolytes. This is simply one more reason to ensure optimal water intake every day.
How to Keep Hydrated
Even while scientists are still unsure how chronic dehydration affects the body for those with specific health concerns, staying hydrated is definitely vital for overall health, especially if you have hyperglycemia.
So, how can you be sure that you are consuming enough water to control your hyperglycemia? We’ve put together some advice so you can stay hydrated and healthy.
The first and most obvious piece of advice is simply to make sure you’re drinking enough through the day. Have a water bottle you like, or always have a refilled glass of water nearby. Start with at least one liter per day and see how much of a difference that makes.
Consume some salt, but not too much. Too much salt can be detrimental for your blood pressure, but you do need it to stay hydrated and provide enough for necessary cellular energy production. When you eat salt, you assist stabilize your electrolytes, which are charged compounds that regulate critical operations in your body and help you keep hydrated, according to numerous studies on PubMed. If you have confirmed or suspected high blood pressure, consult your doctor about how much salt you should ingest.
In high heat, check your blood glucose levels often and drink water more frequently. It is easier to become dehydrated when it’s hot out, when the humidity is low, or you’ve been active. Keeping your hydration levels up can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels through all of your workouts so you don’t feel like you suddenly lose steam.
If you're hungry, reach for hydrating foods. Fruits and vegetables are high in water as well as vitamins and minerals, and you can always make a smoothie with your favorites. You can even use frozen grapes or berries to make your water more interesting.
Above all, listen to your thirst cues. Staying hydrated will help you manage type 2 diabetes better, because the water and electrolyte minerals support healthy disposal of excess blood sugar. Having enough fluid to dilute the circulating molecules in your blood will keep you hydrated and support kidney function to remove wastes and excess sugar. Too little hydration means your kidneys have a harder time filtering your blood
Ultimately, staying hydrated will help you to have an easier time to maintain stable blood sugar levels whether you have hyperglycemia, prediabetes, or want to avoid the complications that come with elevated blood sugar. Make sure to drink plenty of fresh water throughout the day, and enjoy at least one complete electrolyte beverage, such as Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus.