This was a VERY informative article in the Corona Senior Center July August 2011Newsletter. Worth reposting and passing around!! I know it hit home for me.... I need to drink more water, and I don't recognize my thirst as easily....interesting. Dang, aging is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.
As we age, the balance between our need for water and our thirst for water shifts.
In fact, the less water an older person drinks, the less thirsty they become, leaving
them open to the risk of serious dehydration and other complications.
Further, confusion over the difference between hunger and thirst intensifies over the
years, making it all the more important to conscientiously drink adequate amounts
of water throughout the day. At the very minimum, one should consume one cup of
water for every 20 pounds of body weight daily, that's around 6-8 glasses for the
Exercise and warm weather both call for additional water intake to replace fluids lost
through excessive perspiration. So, all those senior citizens who head south for retirement will need to increase water intake! Increased fiber intake among seniors,
which is usually recommended to aid with constipation and other health concerns,
also increases the need for water.
The human body is at least 50% water, of which 2-3 quarts are lost on a daily basis. Even bones are over 20% water! Aside from replenishing what is lost in order to
hydrate the blood and tissues, water also lubricates joints, regulates temperature,
and moistens the lungs to allow for breathing. Inadequate water intake over time
prevents these processes from occurring, leading to arthritis, sore muscles, heavy
breathing, and a higher body temperature. This means that not drinking enough
water over time can result in more severe effects at an older age, which means preventable problems during what should be the golden years.
Senior citizens are at particular risk for dehydration because their kidney function
has diminished to some degree. Symptoms of dehydration include confusion, drowsiness, labored speech, dry mouth, and sunken eyeballs. Side effects for seniors who
do not drink enough water, however, extend far beyond dehydration. Even shortterm water deprivation has been known to cause chronic pain. Over time, lack of
water causes loss of muscle tone, excess weight gain, slow metabolism, increased
toxicity, and even organ failure. Other negative effects include arthritis, dry skin,
migraines, hypertension, digestive complications, and persistent constipation.
In order to maintain health, the kidneys must excrete a minimum of ten ounces of
waste per day. When water is not available, there is nothing present in which to dissolve the body's waste products for expulsion. As a result, they build up within the
body, leading to kidney stones, while putting additional strain on the kidneys to find
adequate liquid with which to expel toxins.
Considering the abundance of water in our daily lifestyles, the fact that most senior
citizens are consistently dehydrated to some degree is alarming. All foods are partly
composed of water; fruits and vegetables are over 75% H2O, and even bread is
more than 30% water. Yet with the abundance of water in their diet, the average
senior citizen still requires over two-and-a-half quarts of pure water each and every
day to maintain good health.
By Deborah Nance
Your Local Southern California Reverse Mortgage Professional
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