As the weather gets warmer we need make sure we stay properly hydrated. This heat is in full swing and drinking plenty of fluids is on our agenda. You may not feel dehydrated because throughout the day you are drinking liquids such as coffee, tea, sugary drinks, soda, or alcohol, but these drinks do not hydrate the body like water does. Even though you don't feel thirsty throughout the day your body is still actually dehydrated. When we age, we are at a greater risk for dehydration because our body water content decreases. This will in turn create greater consequences that can affect our health.
Let's do some Q&A on the basics of dehydration!
Q: What causes dehydration?
A: Dehydration occurs when the body does not get the adequate amount of water that it needs. Everyday, we lose water through sweating, going to the restroom, tears, and saliva. We then eat foods and drink liquids that contain water but if we do not get enough our body becomes dehydrated. We can also lose water when we are sick if we have a fever, vomit, or have diarrhea. Most of the time, dehydration happens because we are just too busy throughout our day and we don't realize we are thirsty.
Q: What are the symptoms of dehydration?
A: The physical signs of dehydration include sticky or dry mouth, dark-colored urine, dizziness, headaches, weakness, rapid heartbeat, lack of energy, sunken eyes, fainting, and feeling thirsty. The hard thing about detecting dehydration is that all these symptoms can also be caused by other health conditions. The best way to see if you are dehydrated is to get a blood test.
Q: What are the consequences of dehydration?
A: As mentioned above, dehydration can cause weakness and dizziness. These two symptoms can cause falls especially for older adults. Individuals with certain medical conditions such as Alzheimers and Dementia can become more confused if they don't get the proper amount of water. Dehydration can also cause Urinary Tract Infections and make constipation worse. If you continue to be dehydrated it can affect your kidneys and increase your risk of getting kidney stones.
Q: How do we prevent dehydration?
A: One way to prevent dehydration is to balance your fluid intake with the output. If you are sweating or urinating more frequently then your intake of water should increase. If you are sick also make sure you are drinking more liquids throughout the day as your body is losing water more easily. Instead of drinking large amounts of water at once spread it out during your day and drink smaller amounts more frequently. Also, try eating more foods such has fruits and vegetables that are high in water.
Drinking water is an essential part to a healthy lifestyle.