Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chronic Dehydration

(From source) This cholera patient is drinking...
(From source) This cholera patient is drinking oral rehydration solution (ORS) in order to counteract his cholera-induced dehydration. The cholera patient should be encouraged to drink the Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). Even patients who are vomiting can often be treated orally if they take small frequent sips. Their vomiting will subside when their acidosis is corrected. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I've been doing a lot of research on Chronic Dehydration, and most of it seems like phony baloney designed to get you to buy something. I don't like phony baloney and I'm sure you don't like it, either.

But the idea of Chronic Dehydration makes a lot of sense to me. When I get sick enough to go to the ER, I usually "drink" about two bags of the saline solution. This just shows me that I'm not as hydrated as I think I am. And after "drinking" the two bags, I always look and feel much better.

So I took to the inter-web looking for sources I could trust, at least somewhat.

I started off at the Mayo Clinic's website with dehydration. My eyes immediately zoomed in on this sentance:

"Anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk."
Oh hey, that's me. (I'm not talking about the picture. That is definitely not me)

Then I looked up what your body uses water for. (Again, from the Mayo Clinic).

Water helps with:
  1. Regulating body tempurature
  2. Moistens tissues like mouth, eyes, and nose.
  3. Helps flush out wastes in kidneys and liver
  4. Prevents constipation
  5. Dissolves minerals and other nutrients for body to use.
  6. Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells.
And I have a feeling there are plenty more uses for water in the body. For example, when you go and get drunk, what should you do? Drink water. Why? So you don't get a hangover. When your brain cells are dehydrated, they shrink. And alcohol is excellent at making you dehydrated.

How To Cure Chronic Dehydration

For mild (not severe and life-threatening) chronic dehydration, the simple, easy cure is to drink water! What, seriously?! 

But it turns out not every beverage has the same hydrating effect. Why? Because drinks that aren't pure water have to be filtered in the kidney and liver to turn it into water your body can use. And the liver and kidneys need water to function (see, I knew there were more uses for water). So the closer to pure water you can get, the easier time your body is going to have using it for the greater good.

So What Should I Drink?

Just plain water. I know a lot of people can't stand the taste of water, so it is okay to add a little, itty bit of juice to your drink. But really, you just have to train yourself to like water. It took me a couple of years to like the taste of water, but now that's pretty much all I drink.

You can always try fruit infused water. Or make fruit ice cubes! Just slice up some fruit, drop a few berries in, slice up a cucumber and let your water soak up the flavors. Or for the fruit ice cubes, get an ice cube tray, drop a berry or some sliced fruit in, let it freeze. Once you're ready to have a glass of water just pop a few in and enjoy.

I haven't tried this, so I'm not sure if it will have the affect I'm thinking of, but maybe you could try boiling the water before adding them. Make a (tea) with it.

Speaking of teas. They say green, black, and Oolong tea are not very good at hydrating you. I'm not saying green, black, and Oolong tea aren't good for you. I'm just saying they aren't great for hydration purposes. It goes back to your body's filtering process. When I told my dad this, he almost had a heart attack. He loves to drink green tea at work and he'll drink it all day long, so he figured he was getting enough hydration. Then he spewed off some green tea facts, and I had to remind him what I told you. 

How Much Water Should I Drink, Megan?

Well, the common consensus on the internet is to drink half your weight in ounces. (Some of the water can come from food, but the way most food is prepared, there isn't much water left for your body to use). 

Lets say a person weighs 150 lbs. That means they have to drink 75 ounces of water. An easier way to think of it is they would have to drink a little more than 2 liters of water throughout the day to get hydrated. (Oh, and so you can calculate how much you would have to drink, 1 liter = 33.814 oz.)

And if you exercise, are in very hot and humid weather, or are sick you will have to drink even more water to keep yourself hydrated. 

Random Facts

Did you know your body loses water just from breathing? Yup.

Did you know that exercise-induced asthma might be caused by the loss of water in the airways? Yup, got that fact from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Drinking water can help you lose weight. How? Like I said above, you can get some of your water through eating. When your body is telling you that it's hungry, it might really just be thirsty and trying to get you to eat something to help it hydrate. That's why they suggest you drink some water before you reach for something to snack on.

How This All Started

Well, it started in the ER a while ago, but I was inspired by an excerpt from the book Water For Health, For Healing, For Life by F. Batmanghelidj. I'm not sure I completely trust this source. I think he might be sort of right, but I'm not sure all his claims are accurate. You can read the book and decide for yourself whether or not he seems like a reputable source, but I am still on the fence.
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  1. I know I always feel terrible if I am dehydrated. Great post!

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post. :) It's amazing how water can make you feel better. There have also been some articles I have read that say drinking water might help depression. I didn't have enough research to include it, but it's great knowing there might be other ways to help your body without man-made stuff.