Dehydration. An All Too Common Problem
What happens in a drought? A hose pipe ban, a car wash ban, shorter showers, less water in the bath. We all protect the vital stuff, like making sure we and our animals get water. Fortunately, we live in a country with more than its fair share of rain and our droughts don’t last too long, so a drought tends to be more of a temporary irritant than a serious problem.
But what if a drought did last for a long time? What would happen to our gardens if they hardly ever got watered? Well, a lot of very poorly and dead plants, and lawns that wouldn’t win any prizes for sure.
It’s doubtful anyone would argue with the above in principle, after all it’s stating the blindingly obvious.
If it’s so obvious then, why is it that at least 75% of us and maybe as many as 90% are long term dehydrated? Given that plants left dehydrated long term will get weak and die, then it should come as no surprise that our complex bodies are likely to suffer the same fate. Why do we put ourselves at this risk? Find out how dehydrated you are by answering this simple questionnaire:
Do you rarely have thirst / dry mouth?
Do you rarely get headaches?
Is your urine a mild (not dark) yellow colour?
Are your skin and lips moist, not dry?
Do you have regular bowel movements most days?
Do you have less than two glasses of alcohol a day?
Do you have five helpings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day?
Do you have several glasses of fruit water / juice / herbal teas a day, even if resting?
Do you avoid having too many salty snacks?
Score 1 for each Yes. Total 0—3 Red, 4—6 Amber, 7—9 Green. Get Nicky’s ‘4 Keys To Health’ book for more information.
Your body will start to react to dehydration with as little as a 1% drop in availability and a priority system will start to kick in. Your brain needs a lot of water and your organs functions are vital. These will get priority, because these are more critical to life. Non critical body parts will get a bit of what is left.
Up To 90% Of Us Are Dehydrated
The list of potential problems from dehydration are huge and are linked to many diseases. The implication to overall wellness is obvious—stay dehydrated at your peril. As a clinic which treats patients every day with pain and injury, here are some dehydration issues we see:
- Just about every joint in your body has cartilage, which needs to be kept hydrated to stay healthy. Dehydrated cartilage will promote inflammation, pain and arthritis.
- Spinal discs need to stay moist and supple. Without adequate hydration this could cause a multitude of spinal problems.
- Muscles will cramp, swell, become tender, have reduced strength and possibly suffer tissue damage.
- Dehydrated tendons and ligaments can make you more prone to injury, pain and inflammation.
Long term dehydration is clearly serious and is linked to many diseases. So why are we so prone to dehydration when it is so easy to fix?
Your Body Has Drought Management
Many studies have shown that what we drink is just as important as how much we drink. In the UK caffeine loaded beverages like coffee, tea and sodas are prevalent. In fact, most of us don’t drink water at all.
The problem with caffeine, if concentrated, is that it is a diuretic which in many cases stimulates us to lose more water than we consume in the drink itself. Thus, drinks like this act to dehydrate, not hydrate.
This issue is contentious and we have to accept that many arguments will have a financial motive. But let’s use common sense. Most people in the UK drink tea and coffee as their main source of fluid intake. If these drinks are not diuretic, then how come nearly 90% of us are dehydrated?
There are many social factors which prevent adequate fluid intake as well. People whose environment does not provide easy access to a toilet, such as drivers for example, are very prone to low fluid intake.
A further factor is with the elderly, who simply don’t register they are thirsty in the first place, plus don’t want to drink too much to reduce visits to the loo.
Here are some simple guidelines on how to stay properly hydrated:
- Drink water as well as diuretic drinks. Recommendations vary but aim for about 1.2 litres per day
- First thing in the morning drink a big glass of water, not tea or coffee.
- If you are feeling hungry, it may be you are thirsty. Drink some water first as that quenches hunger.
- If you are feeling lethargic in the day, drink some water. Lethargy is an early sign of dehydration.
If you are concerned about your hydration level and would like an accurate measurement, we have some very clever Quadscan technology that will analyse your hydration levels in detail. The test is painless and will take about 20 minutes. Ask at reception for details.
Call Now 01889 881488. Erica & Jean will be happy to help