Staying Hydrated This Summer
~ By Kirsten Antony R.N. ~
It is summer in Colorado and as temperatures soar, it is a good time to be reminded of the importance of hydration.
Dehydration can occur when the amount of water consumed is less than the amount of water leaving our bodies. Many of us think of the importance of hydration during the heat of summer, but water leaves our bodies not only through hot environmental conditions. Our bodies normally process water through the intestines, kidneys, lungs as well as the skin. Other conditions that can contribute to the loss of fluids are medication, exercise, stress, diet, and for those of us here in Colorado, living at a higher altitude. Hydration is necessary for cellular functioning. From removing toxins from organs of elimination, to regulation of body temperature, to digestion and absorption of nutrients, hydration is a key element to a healthy body.
Many people abide by the general rule of thumb and consume around eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day or just drink when thirsty. But, an issue for people as they age is that the body’s normal signals for thirst may not function like they did at a younger age. Many elders can be dehydrated and are not aware that they are. For those that may not be sure if they are getting enough fluids per day, there are ways to check for dehydration. One way to tell if the body is dehydrated is by urine color. Typically a light yellow color urine would indicate that there is sufficient hydration. But, if you take vitamins, be aware the vitamins can make the urine a darker color when excreted. Weighing oneself daily would be another idea. A loss in weight could indicate dehydration. It is best to check weight in the morning or same time of day. Some signs that the body may be dehydrated are: Headache, confusion, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, constipation, low blood pressure and urinary tract infections.
Many people drink less water because they do not like the taste of the tap water in their home. Tap water may contain a variety of chemicals and heavy metals depending on what municipal water system is used. There are many options to choose from when it comes to alternatives to drinking tap water. One of the best options in my opinion for elders is to install a carbon filtration system to the kitchen faucet. They are easy to install, operate and are relatively inexpensive. These types of filters remove chlorine and heavy metals and do make the water taste better. Other options for water would be reverse osmosis, spring water, mineral water or distilled water. These varieties of water are usually sold by the gallons and may be difficult for some to purchase and set up in home. There is not a general consensus as to which type of water is the best to drink. It really is personal preference and may require some sleuthing. If you would like to just start by investigating what is in your municipal water supply, a consumer confidence report should be available by your water agency and is required by the EPA. You should be able to view this report once a year on your water bill. You can also visit: https://www.epa.gov/ccr.
Drinking water and staying hydrated can improve the skin, lubricate the joints, boost the immune system, increase energy and remove toxins from the body. Cheers to staying hydrated and healthy this summer!
Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Certified Reflexologist. Kirsten is a holistic health care practitioner and specializes in foot and nail care. She provides care in the Denver area at a variety of facilities as well as making house calls. For more information visit www.kirstenantony.com or call 303-668-8992.