LOMA LINDA, CALIFORNIA. A high blood or plasma viscosity, a high hematocrit (packed cell volume), and a high fibrinogen level have all been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. These blood parameters are all elevated by dehydration. Researchers at Loma Linda University now report a highly significant association between daily water intake and the risk of dying from heart disease. Their study involved 8,280 men and 12,017 women who were enrolled in the Adventist Health Study in 1976. At the time of enrollment all participants were free of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and were 38 years of age or older. During six years of follow-up 246 of the participants died from coronary heart disease. The researchers discovered that men who drank five or more glasses of water a day had less than half the risk of dying from heart disease than did men who drank two or fewer glasses. In women the risk reduction was 40 per cent.
Frequent consumption of liquids other than water was, however, associated with a significantly increased
risk of death from heart disease. Men with a high intake of milk, coffee, tea, juice and carbonated soft drinks
had a 1.5 times higher risk while women with a high intake of these fluids had a 2.5 times higher risk. All the
correlations were independent of other recognized risk factors for heart disease. The researchers speculate
that the intake of fluids other than water may cause relative dehydration of the blood. Research has shown
that consumption of juices and carbonated drinks results in a rapid increase in blood viscosity and that
sugar-containing drinks can elevate triglyceride levels quite considerably.