Monday, August 27, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Hello to all my Cedar Parke friends and family. Some of you may know me others may not, either way my name is Tom and I am the nurse for Assisted Living. Today, I would like to talk with you about the importance of maintaining adequate hydration. It being the summer months the risk for dehydration increases significantly. The conventional wisdom of 8 glasses, 64 oz, a day is not precise as there are many factors that influence water retention and loss. The requirements are closer to 10 cups a day for females and 15 for males but, the threshold does lower when discussing geriatric populations. Such figures can be daunting to achieve but, is mitigated by intake of non-water liquids we drink as well as the food we ingest. Most of us understand that we lose moisture when we urinate but, do you realize that you lose moisture with every breath you take? Insensible fluid loss is what we call the loss of moisture by way of respiration and perspiration. Some doctors state that insensible loss could be up to 800 ml per day, that is to say without your knowledge you are losing nearly 4 cups of water each day.
You may be thinking that you are not as risk because you drink when your body tells you that you are thirsty. That may or may not be true depending on your exact situation but, what I can tell you is there is a phenomenon within the elderly where the less an individual drinks the less their thirst receptors trigger. In other words, you could be thirsty right now and not know. The reason this topic is so important is because it is often overlooked yet the potential for complications is exceedingly high. Actively dehydrated individuals may present with altered mental status, confusion, headache, and increased susceptibility to heat associated injuries. Even after an episode of dehydration there are risks associated. After being deprived of water our cells get thirsty and they are not polite so when they have access to water they try to horde as much as possible. This causes those cells to take and hold on to more than they need resulting in edema that can express anywhere in the body including the brain. There are more severe complications that can present as well such as kidney failure or even cardiac problems as the amount of water in your system directly influenced your sodium and potassium levels.
Water is such fundamental part of our lives that it can easily be overlooked. More concerning is that people self-limit their intake of water for a variety of reasons. Are you self-limiting your intake? Regardless of the reasons it is not a wise or informed decision to do so as you are opening yourself up to a multitude of problems, some that are manageable and recoverable and others that are permanent alterations to lifestyle. I do hope that this encourages to take a more active role in monitoring your dehydration status. Also note there are dangers associated with drinking too much water as well so, please do not overcompensate. If you would like any additional information or have concerns regarding your hydration status, please do not hesitate to discuss it with the healthcare professions at your disposal.
by Thomas Boenning, Assisted Wellness Nurse