Monday, September 16, 2013

Drinking water is NOT Overrated!

By: Ashley Alden, President, HHA
 Last Year the most interesting thing happened to me. I kept feeling sharp pains in my left side. I thought to myself, “Oh dear, if I had another appendix, it would probably need to come out today.” I had been having sharp uncomfortable pains in my left side for the past couple weeks, and this one day I decided to go to Urgent Care and see what is going on. At Urgent Care the doctor did the typical exam and came to the conclusion that I was getting muscle and bowel cramps from not drinking enough water. I answered “Is that it?” perplexed that something so simple could be such an agonizing nuisance. I left the Urgent Care and started drinking more fluids.
    To my surprise, the pain in my side subsided after regularly drinking more fluids and being consciously aware of how much water I am drinking each day.

   Dehydration is a common problem among adults and seniors over the age of 65 because symptoms of dehydration are masked by the aging body. Gary Egan, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, conducted a study of 10 men with an average age of 23.7 and 12 healthy older men with an average age of 68.1. The volunteers were injected with saline solution to make then thirsty. The volunteers were then instructed to drink as much water as they liked. The older men drank less water to quench their thirst. After looking at the activity in of the elderly person’s awareness of the need to drink to re-hydrate rapidly dissipates after a small amount of ingested water. Egan theorizes that this could be credited to a weakening of  muscles, especially in the stomach, so that when food or water is consumed, the stomach of a senior feels fuller faster because the stomach expands more in comparison to volume.

Egan suggests putting oneself on a scheduled hydration program to make one aware of daily fluid intake.  (Making sure that you are drinking at certain times of the day)

   Also, medications for kidney problems, hypertension, heart disease, and liver disease are diuretics and will by nature cause one to become dehydrated.

  Signs of dehydration include:

-Dark urine with a strong odor

-Chronic constipation

-Muscle cramps

-Urinary tract infections

-Confusion and weakness



-Dry mouth

-Low blood pressure
   It might be a good idea to carry a water bottle around, especially in Charlotte’s heat. Drinking more fluids can help with various issues. I had a friend say one time, “If you are mad, sad, tired, or in pain, drink water.”