Welcome! This blog contains research & information on lifestyle, nutrition and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of the endothelium and heart-brain connection. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the auto-immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 20 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hydration, your Heart and Blood Flow

December 26, 2010 at 2:12pm

Did you know that when you are not drinking enough water, you are straining your heart and vascular system, and depriving your brain of good blood flow?

Dehydration causes strain on your heart. The amount of blood circulating through your body, or blood volume, decreases when you are dehydrated. To compensate, your heart beats faster, increasing your heart rate and causing you to feel palpitations. link

When we do not get enough hydration from water, our blood volume decreases. Water is essential for our vascular system.
Hypovolemia means low blood volume. This condition can be very serious and can be due to blood loss from injury.  It can also happen in a body that is dehydrated or inactive, or not functioning well. Hypovolemia occurs often to the elderly and disabled.

Low blood volume can cause orthostatic hypotension. This is when there isn't enough blood getting to the brain when you change position from lying down to upright. This can lead to dizziness, confusion and falls, and often happens in the elderly. But it can happen in people with MS, too. Orthostatic hypotension is well-documented in MS and has been a mystery for researchers.

For many women, pregnancy offers a time of blessed relief of MS symptoms. This has lead to studies of hormones and MS, and a clinical trial of estrogen in MS patients. But looking at pregnancy from the vascular paradigm, what else can we learn?

When women are pregnant, their blood volume increases dramatically. This sends blood pumping throughout the body.

Perhaps the most striking maternal physiologic alteration occurring during pregnancy is the increase in the blood volume. The magnitude of the increases varies according to the size of woman, the number of pregnancies she has had, the number of infants she has delivered, and whether there is one or multiple fetuses.The increases in blood volume progress until term;the average increase in volume at term is 45-50%. The increase is needed for extra blood flow to the uterus, extra metabolic needs of fetus, and increased perfusion of others organs, especially kidneys. Extra volume also compensate for maternal blood loss during delivery. 

After delivery is the time during which many women report having exacerbations in their MS, or a return of MS symptoms. Yes, hormone levels are fluctuating, but so are blood volume levels. Pondering this fact has lead me to do more reading on blood volume, and I am finding some interesting things to consider.

Thinking about blood volume in terms of CCSVI treatment and restenosis of veins has been very interesting to me. If angioplasty is returning good, open routes of flow, but the body is not able to compensate by providing adequate blood volume, then these opened vessels will not have the necessary pressure to remain opened. And the areas of prior stenosis might re-collapse, just like an old garden hose with low flow.

I hope to bring this avenue of discussion to the doctors. Perhaps aftercare needs to include additional hydration, salt intake, maybe even intravenous fluids--all to keep blood levels adequate. Inactivity and remaining in the supine position increase hypovolemia--therefore, movement, exercise and upright activities would encourage blood flow and blood volume. Something to think about as we move forward with CCSVI research in 2011.

With wishes for good flow in the New Year!


  1. Thank you always for all the work that you do on CCSVI in MS always appreciated from me here in the UK.Thank you always .

  2. Joan, you have an uncanny ability to see the unseen. Your brain is always asking challenging questions and we all benefit. Thank you for this research and advice which holds as much truth today as it did in December 2010. Bless you💖