Next to oxygen, water is the most important nutrient your body needs to function properly. Water, which makes up nearly 70 percent of the human body, plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function, including regulating temperature, carrying nutrients throughout the body, cushioning joints, strengthening muscles, providing moisture to the skin and other tissues, improving the digestive process, and eliminating waste.
Without proper fluid intake, the body becomes dehydrated. Untreated severe dehydration can lead to seizures, permanent brain damage, and even death. Seniors need to take special precautions because their thirst mechanism is not as sensitive as that of younger people.
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center recommend the following tips for getting enough fluid during the day:
- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid throughout the day.
- Liquids include not only water, but milk, fruit and vegetable juice, gelatin, ice cream/sherbet, and carbonated beverages.
- Carry a water bottle with you when you leave the house, especially if you are gone for most of the day, and drink from it regularly.
- Drink water before, during and after physical exercise to offset the fluid your body loses through perspiration. Also, during hot, humid weather, increase your fluid intake due to perspiration and evaporation losses of fluid.
Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink, say the nutrition specialists at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Some signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, headache, and dark-colored urine.
Above content provided by Hebrew SeniorLife in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
Posted July 2012