| Tue, Jan 27, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Drink Plenty of Water. Your Body Will Love You for It.

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

dehydrationMost of us have been told we need to drink enough water to stay hydrated, but we’re not told why we need to stay hydrated or how dehydration can hurt us.

Hydration helps regulate or maintain several bodily functions. Hydration:

  • helps regulate body temperature through sweating

  • helps the heart pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles

  • helps eliminate waste and toxins from the body

  • acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints

  • protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues

Dehydration happens when you lose more water than you take in. When you lose water through urination, sweating, illness or by other means and you don’t replace those lost fluids, you can get dehydrated. And as you age, you can become even more susceptible to dehydration because your body’s ability to conserve water is reduced, your thirst sense becomes less acute, and you’re less able to respond to changes in temperature. Dehydration is a frequent cause of hospitalization of older adults and one of the ten most frequent diagnoses responsible for hospitalization in the United-States.1

Dehydration can lead to some serious or fatal complications, including:

  • confusion

  • weakness

  • urinary tract infections

  • swelling of the hands or feet

  • pneumonia

  • bedsores in bed-ridden patients

  • heat exhaustion or heatstroke

  • swelling of the brain

  • seizures

  • low blood volume shock

  • kidney failure

  • coma

  • death

Treating Dehydration

According to the Mayo Clinic, the only effective treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and lost electrolytes. The best approach to dehydration treatment depends on age, the severity of dehydration and its cause. A mild case of hydration may be reversible by drinking more fluids. In more severe cases, immediate medical treatment may be needed.

As with most things, prevention is key. Staying hydrated is easier and healthier than reversing a severe case of dehydration.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. 

Resources:

Hydration and the Elderly, Hydration For Health (H4H)

Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy: American Heart Association

Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1 Hydration and the Elderly, Hydration For Health (H4H), December 18, 2014

 

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