* What do the doctors say about water?
"Dehydration remains a problem among both institutionalized and community-dwelling
elderly. We agree that the community-based awareness programs for
educating the public hopefully could help to reduce the number of [dehydration]
cases reported in the community setting. Last, we concur that infection
is the major risk factor for the development of dehydration in this population
and the proper use of vaccines to reduce respiratory infections could
greatly aid in the reduction of the number of cases of dehydration.
Our experience leads us to still believe that institutionalized populations,
because of frequent presence of cognitive impairment, immobility and multiple
medical problems, are at special risk for the development of dehydration
and require special monitoring by both nursing staff and the primary attending
physician." Joan L. Warren, M.D. and Tamara Harris, M.D. The
Journal of the American Medical Association,
March 27 1996 v275 n12 p911(2).
"Heat is really the silent
killer. The victim is down for the count before any warning comes.
The deficit in water begins at the gun and for that reason we must begin
to make it up in advance. Playing catch-up is not a game that works
in hot-weather running." George Sheehan, M.D. Vibrant Life,
March-April 1996 v12 n2 p28 (2)
Dr. Robert M Russell, a professor
of medicine and nutrition at Tufts University in Boston and his colleagues
at the Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center on
Aging at Tufts, Dr. Alice Lichtenstein and Helen Rasmussen, a registered
dietitian, have revised the food guide pyramid for Americans over 70.
This guide has a new foundation:
eight 8-ounce glasses of water (or its nonalcoholic, caffeine-free equivalent)
each day. "Older people...have to consciously think of drinking
more and keeping well hydrated, especially if they live in warm climates,"
Russell said. Without enough water, blood pressure can fall dangerously
low, clots may form and block blood vessels, kidney function may be compromised
(and may result in toxic concentrations of [prescription] drugs) and constipation
can become chronic.
* What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is defined by medical professionals as fluid loss in the body
of more than 1 percent of body weight. For example: a person weighing
150 pounds would have to lose 1.5 pounds (3 pints) to be considered dehydrated.
* Symptoms of Dehydration
For early or mild dehydration
* leads to an increase in body temperature
* causes heart-rhythm disturbances
* dizziness - made worse when standing
* fatigue or weakness
* cramping in the arms or legs
* flushed face
* Extreme thirst
* dry, warm skin
* small amounts of dark, yellow urine
* crying with few or no tears
* dry mouth with thick saliva
* mental confusion
For moderate to severe dehydration
* low blood pressure
* severe muscle contractions and cramping in the arms legs stomach and
* a bloated stomach
* heart failure
* sunken eyes with few or no tears
* lack of elasticity of the skin. When a bit of skin is lifted up - it
takes a long time to go back to its normal position
* rapid & deep breathing.
If you or anyone you know has these symptoms - immediately FORCE yourself
or them to drink more water. If symptoms are severe - get medical
attention as soon as possible.
* Who is at risk from Dehydration?
You are! Everyone needs to be aware of the need to keep hydrated.
Next to oxygen, water is the nutrient most needed to sustain life.
You can live without food for a month, but you can survive only three
to four days without water.
Next at risk - CHILDREN and
the ELDERLY need to be watched after. A child needs to learn proper
drinking water attitudes and older folks sense of thirst dims with age.
Plus they may have developed bad attitudes toward water.
Backpackers, Runners and other
Athletes - Beware! Regardless of how much you chug, your body can
only absorb about a quart of water an hour, even though you can easily
sweat off 2 quarts an hour. The solution? Drink early, constantly,
and keep sipping after you've stopped for the day. Few backpackers
come close to drinking enough. Mild dizziness, nausea, and headache
are all signs of dehydration commonly experienced by hikers. Drink
at least a pint (16 ounces) of water every 20 minutes. A flavored
carbohydrate-laced sports drink diluted by half to two thirds helps motivate
you to drink more and speeds up absorption. Avoid higher concentrations
because they require too much water to be digested.
Next at risk group - people
who drink nothing but sodas, coffee and alcohol. These are water-robbing
beverages that act as diuretics, causing the body to lose water rapidly
through increased urination. Going to bed after a night of drinking
alcohol is a sure way of pickling your brain, liver and other vital organs.
If you do this on occasion, makes sure to keep drinking water all
through the night, especially each time you get up to go to the bathroom.
And finally - TEENAGERS who
drink nothing but soda pops are setting themselves up early for heart
attacks in their Thirties and early Forties. The constant supply
of thick syrupy fluids does nothing to contribute to healthy blood vessels
* Treatment of Dehydration
If you are mildly dehydrated, you need to drink enough liquid to replace
the fluids you have lost. Also, you need to replace the electrolytes
(salts) you have lost. Drinking sips of water slowly, along with
eating the typical American diet, which is high in salt, will replace
fluids and salts you have lost.
Nonprescription medicines are
available that help replenish fluids and electrolytes by drinking sports
drinks or an oral rehydration solution (ORS). Drink the solution (or give
it to the dehydrated person if they are conscious) immediately.
Do not wait until dehydration becomes severe.
Packets of oral rehydration
salts are widely available. To use one of these packets, mix the
contents with 1 quart or liter of drinking water. If drinking water
is not available, or if you are not sure the water is drinkable, boil
the water for at least 10 minutes.
If ORS packets are not available,
mix an oral rehydration solution using the following recipe: To 1 quart
of drinking water or boiled water, add the following:
* 2 tablespoons sugar or
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
(bicarbonate of soda).
Note: If baking soda is not available, add another 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
If possible, add 1/2 cup orange juice or some mashed banana to improve
the taste and provide some potassium.
Drink sips of the ORS every 5 minutes until urination becomes normal.
It's normal to urinate four or five times a day. Adults and large
children should drink at least 3 quarts or liters of ORS a day until they
If you are vomiting, continue
to try to drink the ORS. Your body will retain some of the fluids
and salts you need even though you are vomiting. Remember to take
sips of liquids slowly. Chilling the ORS may help.
Someone with symptoms of severe
dehydration needed intravenous fluids (fluids given directly into the
veins through a needle) if possible. If able to drink, they should
also drink the ORS.
Clinical Reference Systems,
Dec 1997 p2409
* Oral Health
Saliva is essential for the maintenance of oral health. Saliva
is made up of water. Dehydration acts to dry the mouth first especially
in mouth breathers. This leads to the onslaught of gingivitis. Gums
disappear - teeth fall out - dental bills kill you.
- writes that he has seen water completely reverse conditions such as
asthma angina, hypertension, migraine headaches, arthritis pain, back
pain, colitis pain, and chronic constipation. Also, heartburn, hiatal
hernia, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, high cholesterol.
morning sickness, overweight problems and even heart problems needing
bypass surgery. He stated that most of these problems were a result
not sick! You're thirsty!"