This article was published in the August 2020 Helping Seniors of Brevard Newsletter, printed in Senior Scene Magazine.
The Heat is On!
It’s the annual summer hydration article! Proper hydration is an ongoing battle for the seniors we serve, as well as within my own family. While I may sound like a broken record, hydration is incredibly vital to your health.
Why is hydration so important? If your body does not have the proper fluid intake you may suffer from: fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, confusion, difficulty walking, or rapid heartbeat. Dehydration is a very common cause of hospitalization for seniors. Unfortunately, as we age the sense of thirst diminishes, compounding the problem. Chronic dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, falls, and exacerbate other medical conditions. A UCLA study found that 40% of seniors may be chronically dehydrated!
On a Personal Note...
In previous articles I have mentioned my Dad’s ongoing battle with hydration over the last few years. The saga continues. This spring he ended up in the hospital, despite drinking 64 ounces of water a day, he was still dehydrated. His sodium was also low. How could he be dehydrated? His primary physician suggested that while he may be drinking enough water, Dad may not be replacing the electrolytes necessary for his body to utilize that water properly. Suggestions include adding a pinch of salt and a splash of fruit juice to his water. Adding a sport drink like Gatorade or Powerade into the mix, especially when golfing. He doesn’t care for sports beverages so electrolyte water may be a good alternative. He is now adding these changes to his routine. It will be interesting to see how he feels by the end of the month!
One final note, it is possible to over hydrate. Too much fluid can cause the salts and electrolytes to be diluted. Medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, kidney problems, and liver disease can cause over-hydration because they cause the body to hold on to fluids. It is important to talk to your doctor and find out what amount is right for you. Cheers to better health and a very happy summer for all of us!