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"Water" We Going TO Do About Dehydration?

May 13, 2014

“Water” we going to do about dehydration?

Water is the #1 most abundant resource on our planet with approximately 326-million-trillion gallons floating around! It is the easiest resource to obtain and is one of most essential ingredients for life on Earth. Almost 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water. An individual can survive an entire month without food but the body cannot last longer than a week without water. With that being said....why are approximately 50-75% of Americans in the work force suffering from chronic dehydration?

I drink whenever I’m thirsty, so I’m NEVER dehydrated, right?

Dehydration can be defined as the depletion of water content in the body from sickness, strenuous activity, thermal stress, and/or water deficiency. Dehydration occurs if 1% of one’s normal body weight is reduced due to fluid deprivation. The ability to maintain equilibrium with water balance depends on how thirsty we are, right? Wrong. As one gets older, the ability to sense “thirst” and their overall fluid consumption gradually decreases. This should not come as a surprise since typically most of our senses diminish with time. In addition to our decreased senses, our kidneys’ ability to retain water decreases with age. Nephrons are responsible for regulating water concentration in the body. The number of nephrons in our kidneys and their sensitivity to the anti-diuretic hormone (which commands nephrons to retain water) decreases with age.

Well, I drink coffee a few times per day, so I should be fine, right?

YES....well, kind of. Society has been under the false impression that drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks will actually dehydrate you, rather than hydrate you. However, recent research has shown that these caffeinated drinks will NOT dehydrate you unless you drink them in excess (about 7 cups a day) or if you drink them while suffering from severe dehydration. Essentially, if you aren’t stuck on an Island, with only a volleyball named Wilson (for those of you that have seen “Cast Away”), and you are not chugging ½ gallon of coffee a day, then drink away!

How can I tell that I am dehydrated if thirst isn’t as reliable as I thought?

The main symptoms of minor/moderate dehydration are headaches, hypotension (minor or significant drop in blood pressure), dryness of skin, loss of appetite, episodes of dizziness and fatigue, darkening of urine color, and/or dry mouth...WOW. The simplest algorithm to preventing dehydration is...Water (input) > water (output). In, other words, DRINK UP, my friends! The average man should be consuming approximately 3 Liters (roughly 102 fluid ounces) of fluids a day. The average woman should consume approximately 2.2 L (75 fluid ounces). Obviously, everybody is different and so this should not be taken as a universal standard. If you’re working out on a consistent basis, then the average consumption should be higher. The easiest and most efficient solution....drink water (who would’ve guessed?). In some cases, sports drinks may be more beneficial than water since they replenish depleted electrolytes. Preventing fluid loss by moving yourself to a cooler environment (decreasing water output) will help as well.

What are the benefits of being well-hydrated?

There is a positive correlation between water intake and higher energy levels throughout the day. One of the reasons why we have the urge to face-plant at 2:00 p.m. could be from a mild case of dehydration. Also, there is an inverse relationship between water intake and the risk of colon, bladder, and breast cancer. Dreading that colonoscopy? Drink up and go in there dauntless! For an abundance of individuals suffering from joint and/or back pain, drinking a sufficient amount of water can provide substantial relief to the underlying issues of that source. What do we do when we are stiff in our muscles/joints? We stretch. Stretching flushes toxins and other contaminants out of your muscle and joints, and water is the main facilitator in that process. Water allows the waste to diffuse from the muscles/joints and assists in the excretion of these wastes from the body.

Moral of the story; if you’re feeling extremely fatigued, experiencing headaches, stiffness, and/or other symptoms of dehydration...WATER you going to do about it?

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