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Water and Your Health

July 8, 2013

 

Increase Your Water Intake for Better Health

Many older adults experience dehydration, which occurs when you don’t have enough fluid in your body. When dehydrated, the body becomes less able to maintain adequate blood pressure, deliver sufficient oxygen and nutrients to cells, and rid itself of wastes. In fact, dehydration is ranked as one of the top 10 most frequent reasons for Medicare hospitalizations.

 

Why Is Dehydration so Prevalent Among the Senior Community?

  • Many seniors are unaware that they need to drink more, since the ability to feel thirst lessens with age.
  • Seniors tend to use the bathroom more frequently, so they lose more fluid.
  • When a body ages, it loses muscle and gains fat. Muscle holds water, but fat doesn’t, so body water decreases.
  • Medications that increase urination or help constipation may cause dehydration.

Causes of Dehydration

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Failure to replenish liquids lost from sweating and urination (not drinking enough water)

Symptoms of Dehydration

Many illnesses and diseases can trigger acute dehydration due to increased body temperature and sweating, which is why your doctor tells you to drink plenty of fluids when you’re sick. Your body uses fluids to expel toxins and keep your system flexible, lubricated and running smoothly. Symptoms of dehydration may include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry skin
  • Dark colored urine
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Chills
  • Head rushes
  • Irritability

How Much Water Is Enough?

To determine the average minimum number of ounces of water per day that you need to drink, take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day – that’s 10 eight ounce glasses.

While water is very important for your health, there are some times when drinking too much water can be a problem.

  • If you have kidney or adrenal problems, or your doctor has you taking diuretics, you need to consult with your doctor as to how much water to drink each day.
  • Don’t drink all of the water you need per day all at once. Divide the amount you need and drink several glasses of water throughout the day.

Do Other Fluids Count?

First and foremost, our bodies need water. Juice and milk have a high percentage of water, but they also contain calories. If you’re watching your weight, drink water. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as most sodas and regular coffee, as caffeine actually causes the body to lose water. The same goes for alcohol.

How THA Group Can Help

Services may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Nutritional support and hydration monitoring
  • Management and evaluation of patient care plan
  • Patient and family education of disease process
  • Observation and assessment of condition
  • Diabetic care
  • IV therapy
  • Enteral and parenteral nutrition
  • Medication education and management
  • Home safety and emergency education
  • Supervise overall care on a regular basis
  • Provide assistance with the activities of daily living
  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping and errands
  • Special diet assistance
  • Escort to appointments
  • Assist with personal care
  • Assist with exercise and mobility
  • Medication reminders
  • Record keeping
  • Companionship/conversation
  • Assistance for persons with confusion and disorientation or mental health issues
  • Respite care
  • And much more!

For more information on how THA Group can help you or a loved one, call 912.233.2334.