How much do you drink? The importance of hydration.

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Everyone loves hot weather; playing at the beach, swimming in the pool, or running through sprinklers are all fun ways to cool down in warmer temperatures. Warmer weather brings increased responsibility, and sometimes cooling yourself down externally isn’t enough. How much do you drink ? Water, that is. Most people don’t k enough water daily, supplemented with caffeine, alcohol and other dehydrating drinks.  Water is an essential nutrient for your body, especially when the sun comes out.

Description:

Dehydration happens when normal body functions are prevented due to excessive loss of water. Everyday, humans lose a certain amount of water carrying out daily activities: breathing, sweating, and urination. Dehydration only becomes a threat when people lose more water than they consume. Diseases including vomiting or diarrhea often lead to dehydration because an exorbitant amount of bodily fluids is lost. Excessive exercise or simply remaining in heated climates for an extended amount of time can also lead to dehydration if one doesn’t drink sufficient amounts of water. Much of the fluids humans consume come in the form of food; fruit juices, electrolytes, and nutrients are necessary for proper hydration and more importantly bodily function. The Kendrick Fincher Hydration Foundation estimates mild dehydration causes a 10% decrease in mental performance, most notably because 80% of the human brain includes water.  Dehydration can strike much quicker than most people realize. By the time you are experiencing thirst you are already 1% dehydrated.

What to expect:

  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of strength
  • Dry mouth
  • Light-headedness
  • Dark yellow urine or lack or urination all together

 

One should be cautious if a loss of 10% in body weight or more is lost in a short duration. Dehydration becomes more of an issue in children because their fluid turnover is quicker, meaning rehydration needs to occur more often. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates dehydration accounts for 1.5 million outpatient visits, 200,000 hospitalizations, and 300 deaths in children every year. Symptoms can be as severe as:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Kidney failure

 

Drink more!

Adults can usually treat mild to moderate cases of dehydration by drinking more water and sports drinks, replenishing their fluids and replacing their lost electrolytes. The best treatment is always prophylactic, preparing for conditions that could contribute to dehydration; clinical recommendations involve drinking an elevated amount of water before periods of increased exercise and heat.  Pre-emptive consumption of fluids create a greater volume of water your body can access for brain and muscle function during these periods when water loss is prominent. The Kendrick Fincher Organization recommends drinking 50-60 oz. of water every day for children under ten, and considerably more for adults depending on body weight. A valuable equation to remember when drinking water is to divide one’s body weight in half and drink the numerical value in ounces every day. This equation suggests drinking 75 ounces daily for a person weighing 150 pounds. Although, significantly higher amounts of water need to be consumed in dehydrated patients to replenish nutrient amounts. Coffee and soda have an adverse reaction and are factors in causing dehydration. Increased consumption of water and nutrients are needed to counteract the effects of hydration depleting beverages.

References:

Dehydration. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec19/ch276/ch276b.html. Accessed June 12, 2013

Diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea. Accessed June 12,2013.

Fincher, R., & Fincher, M. Kendrick Fincher Foundation, non-profit organization 501.c.3. (2007).Promoting proper hydration and preventing heat illness. Retrieved from Kendrick Fincher Foundation website: http://www.kendrickfincher.org/hydration_facts.htm

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, January 07). Dehydration: Causes. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=causes

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, January 07). Dehydration: Symptoms. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms

Vorvick, L. J. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2011).Dehydration. Retrieved from U.S. National Library of Medicine website: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000982.htm

Wedro, B. (2013, May 21).Dehydration. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/dehydration/article.htm