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    Aging Well Partners
  • Aug 03
  • 2 min

Water – The Medicine of Life

Water – The Medicine of Life

We all know that most plants need to be watered in order to keep them alive.  If we don’t water them, they become limp, dry up, and eventually end up in the yard waste bucket. Guess what?  We humans need to be watered on a regular basis too!

Our bodies, which consist of 55-60% water,  need hydration on a regular basis to maintain homeostasis, a fancy word for a state of balance and optimal functioning.  When we sweat and urinate, we lose fluids.  We lose bodily fluids in several other ways including vomiting, diarrhea, and by taking certain medications, but sweating and urinating are the most common ways we fluids.  These fluids need to be replaced or our bodies begin the process of becoming dehydrated; dehydration occurs when we lose more fluids than we replace.  Rough estimates suggest 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.  As we age, the risk of becoming dehydrate increase 20-30%, often due to immobility, chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, and falls.  You’ve probably heard the saying, “if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated” and I’ll be darned…it’s TRUE.  Don’t wait until you “feel” thirsty.  As we age, we need to stay hydrated by sipping water or an electrolyte drink throughout the day.  Sodas are dehydrating and fruit juices don’t contain enough water to do the trick, not to mention they are full of sugar!  There are water bottles that light up and tell us when we need to drink.  There are apps on our phones and wearable devices that remind us it’s time to take a sip of water.  There are so many new and inventive ways to remind us all to stay hydrated, we should have no reason to become dehydrated!  And if you are like my father who doesn’t like to drink too much fluid throughout the day because that means he will need to use the bathroom more often, my response is it’s better to hydrate each day and spend a little extra time in the restroom than it is to spend hours in the Emergency Department and days as an inpatient while your fluids are being replenished via I.V.  Oh, and don’t forget the hospital bills that will be in your mailbox shortly after your discharge home.  I think I’d rather drink a glass of water.  Cheers to your good health.

P.S. caffeinated coffee, sodas and alcohol are not good hydration sources – they actually dehydrate you.

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