Dehydration and Stroke: How Are They Connected?

Each year in the United States, more than 795,000 people have a stroke, which is when the blood supply to your brain is limited or interrupted. And while heatstroke is a completely different condition, both can be linked with dehydration and put your life at risk. 

Our specialists at Michigan Neurology Associates diagnose and treat stroke symptoms and complications using the latest diagnostics, including CT scans and MRIs, and design treatment plans to address your needs and prevent another stroke. 

We can also help determine if dehydration or a heat-related illness is affecting your neurological health. Read on to learn more about these conditions and the important role fluids can play.

Stroke risk and dehydration

Dehydration is common in older adults who have strokes, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology. In fact, some 60% of stroke patients are dehydrated, and it’s possible that the lack of fluids could be the cause of the stroke or a contributing factor. 

When you don’t consume enough fluids, your blood can thicken and move slowly, potentially backing up in a blocked or narrowed blood vessel and resulting in stroke. So if you have other heart disease risk factors, such as clogged arteries, dehydration can be especially dangerous.

Once you have a stroke, symptoms may include:

Heatstroke and dehydration

Dehydration can also cause or worsen the heat-related illness known as heatstroke. While heatstroke is not a cardiac event, it too can be fatal and affect your neurological health. In addition, heatstroke has been linked with long-term cardiovascular problems. 

Heatstroke can derive from prolonged heat exposure, exercising in warm temperatures, or prolonged sauna use. If you don’t drink enough water to replenish fluids you lose through sweating, heatstroke is likely. 

Drinking alcohol or wearing clothing that keeps sweat from evaporating or cooling your body can also contribute. 

Symptoms of heatstroke may include:

Prevention and support

Preventing stroke and heatstroke related to dehydration is your first line of defense. Most adults need 11.5-15.5 cups of fluid per day, depending on factors such as your size and activity level. 

When you exercise vigorously or in warm temperatures, you need to replace lost fluids with more water. Other hydrating foods and drinks include low-fat milk, herbal tea, juices, broth-based soups, and fruits and vegetables.

If you or a loved one shows signs of a stroke or heatstroke, seek immediate medical care. 

When we address these conditions early, the outcomes are far better. If you notice signs of dehydration only, such as thirst, dark yellow or limited urine, dizziness, tiredness, or dry lips and eyes, consume fluids and monitor the rest of your health. 

If you have difficulty staying hydrated or notice unusual or lingering symptoms, call our office.

To learn more about dehydration, stroke, or related issues, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists at Michigan Neurology Associates. Call one of our three locations or send us a message through this website. 

Our Detroit metro offices are located in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and Utica, Michigan. During the pandemic, we’re also offering telehealth and phone appointments.

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