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Water Helps Those With Low Blood Pressure

Buoys health of people who can faint while standing

MONDAY, Dec. 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Plain tap or bottled water may buoy the health of people with low blood pressure who faint while they're standing, says a British study in the latest issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The study of 14 patients with low blood pressure caused by autonomic failure found that drinking two glasses of water can help increase their blood pressure.

People with autonomic failure have improper functioning of parts of the nervous system that control involuntary body functions such as blood pressure, heart rate and sweating.

"This surprising discovery that water can have such an effect on blood pressure could help us to treat both sufferers of autonomic failure, and many people who suffer from low blood pressure generally, especially those who faint, such as with vasovagal syncope," study author Christopher Mathias, a professor at Imperial College London and St. Mary's Hospital, said in a prepared statement.

"While autonomic failure itself is generally not life-threatening, it can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life. People with low blood pressure caused by autonomic failure are at greater risk of fainting when standing upright, after food or even after mild exertion," Mathias said.

"This can affect their life in many ways, stopping them from driving or, in extreme cases, from being able to work. This discovery could be of considerable use in helping these patients to understand why this happens. It may also benefit the many without autonomic failure who faint as a result of low blood pressure," he said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about the autonomic nervous system.

SOURCE: Imperial College London, news release, December 2004
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