Welcome to the United Church of Sun City
June 6, 2019
Greetings from your Parish Nurse! The heat we have all been anticipating is here! In our continuation of improving our RESILIENCE, this month is focusing on Intake of Fluids.
Over the years, my husband has taught me that oil lights, fuel gauges, and temperature lights in the car are very important to the functioning of the car. He has reinforced the idea that my car will not run correctly without a proper amount of oil, gas and water, and in fact can face major damage if those fluids get too low. It is not a matter of convenience or inconvenience; it is just a fact – my car needs fluids.
This month I am going to remind you that our bodies also need fluids! Like an automobile, without proper fluids, they cannot function in a normal manner, and can even ‘breakdown” causing falls and hospitalizations.
Dehydration – or low water level– affects us in many ways such as:
Information from medical sources suggest that many people are slightly dehydrated most of the time. It may not be enough to cause symptoms, but it wears on our body. Add the extreme heat and dryness of the summer, and we become even more dehydrated, though we may work to stay in an air-conditioned setting.
In older adults, it becomes even more of an issue. How many times have you heard of a friend or relative in the ER due to a fall, but they were also treated for dehydration? It happens frequently.
When encouraging others to drink more fluid, I often hear “But if I drink more water, then I will have to get up to the bathroom more often!” I know that it is inconvenient and challenging sometimes to make additional trips to the bathroom, but I also know that most of you would choose that inconvenience rather than falling or being hospitalized for dehydration.
I am also asked the question, “How much water is enough?” My usual answer to those who ask is “More than you are drinking now.” In general, the recommendation is 64 oz per day. This would be about 8 small glasses of water, 4 large glasses of water, or 3 water bottles in a day.
Do coffee, tea, soda, alcohol and juice count? These drinks add fluid to our bodies, but they also bring other counterproductive substances. Coffee, decaffeinated coffee and most teas have caffeine that stimulates our kidneys to eliminate more water than they provide for us. Alcohol also reduces the fluids in our bodies. Sodas have additional salt and sugar or sweeteners which help to hold fluid in our tissues rather than helping us to eliminate it normally. Juices have sugar and an additional number of calories that over time can increase our weight rather than just providing hydration.
Water is really the best choice. If you find it hard to drink plain water, think about adding lemon juice, ¼ cup lemonade or other juices to a large glass of water. Try drinking room temperature water. Or have a glass of water close to you and take a drink at breaks – like commercials, or between computer program changes. Take water with you in the car and drink it at stoplights.
There are many ways to increase our intake of water. The important part is to DO IT! Remember, though our bodies don’t have an engine or oil light to alert us, our bodies do need water!