Friday, 6 March 2009

Elderly Need To Drink More Water

Dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of 
hospitalization among people over the age of 65. 

An article in Nurse Practitioner concluded that "Dehydration 
is the most common fluid and electrolyte disturbance among 
the elderly population today." 

Water is important to all bodily processes say medical 
experts. Water carries nutrients, hormones, and disease 
fighting cells and antibodies to and from body organs 
through the bloodstream. Water carries carbon dioxide and 
waste products to the lungs, intestinal tract and kidneys to 
be excreted. 

Hypertension, circulation disorders, kidney stones, 
arthritis, indigestion and constipation are all common 
disorders found in elderly people that can be directly, or 
indirectly, caused in inadequate water intake. Over the age 
of 65 thirst diminishes and a person is not likely to drink 
without consciously thinking about it. 

A lack of water aids kidney stone development since there 
isn't adequate water for kidneys to flush out stone forming 

A lack of water causes sodium levels in the body to rise. 
When not enough water is ingested, the body holds water. 
This causes fluid buildup and sodium retention. Salt draws 
water out of the tissues, increasing dehydration. This can 
result in confusion, excitability, and a host of other 
problems to which older people are prone to, especially 
increased blood pressure. 

Water is important for digestion and absorption of food. 
Digestive symptoms such as nausea can be indicative of the 
need for more water. Constipation, a frequent complaint of 
elderly Americans is commonly caused by inadequate water 
intake, says a California nutrition expert. 

Joint and muscle stiffness occur as a result of not enough 
water for lubrication. 

Without adequate water, there is stress on the 
cardiovascular system. Blood becomes thicker so the heart 
works harder and circulation is slowed. Many elderly people 
already have a sluggish circulation. 

When circulation is sluggish the brain doesn't receive 
enough oxygen resulting in headaches, dizziness, fatigue, 
and a loss of mental alertness. A reduction of only 4 to 5 
percent in body water will result in a 20 to 30 percent work 

Postmenopausal women taking estrogen supplements need to be 
aware that estrogen acts as a salt retainer. Water is 
needed to remove the excess salt from the body. 

Some common signs of an inadequate water intake are 
constipation, dark yellow urine, and dry, sticky mouth 
caused by decreased salivary gland function says a Harvard 
physiologist. Everyone needs a minimum of eight 8-ounce 
glasses of water spaced evenly throughout the day. 

For more information on the importance of water in the body:

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