May 8, 2015 – It’s getting warm outside. The frost and cold of the winter seems to finally be dissipating! As we all look forward to outside activities, travel to different destinations and fun in the sun; it’s important to remember to stay hydrated! Water is important to keeping our bodies working properly.
Naturally our body loses fluids through sweat, urination, and bowel movements. Normally the body will keep our electrolytes in balance by how thirsty we are and how much we void and sweat. However dehydration can occur when output of fluid—whether from urination, diarrhea, or sweating, exceeds daily intake of fluid. As we age we may not be as aware of our thirst. In essence, our warning signals get weaker and weaker as we get older! This is why it is important to monitor how much fluid you are taking in and make sure you are getting enough fluid. We must drink fluids even when we don’t feel thirsty.
- Muscle weakness
- Palpitations (fast heartbeat or feeling of different heartbeat)
- Muscle cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Dry Skin
WHAT KIND OF FLUIDS SHOULD I BE DRINKING?
The best fluid to drink to stay hydrated is good ol’ fashioned water. Typically you need about 2 quarts (64 ounces) of water a day to be healthy. When calculating how much fluid you are drinking one must be careful not to fully count drinks such as tea and coffee as they have caffeine in them which can act as a diuretic and cause more volume loss. It is always a good idea to talk with your primary care provider about what fluids you should be drinking and how much you should be drinking!
Stay healthy and stay thirsty!
Kharia J. Holmes, M.D., is part of Carroll Health Group in Westminster, MD and sees patients in the Carroll Lutheran Village office. She earned her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., and completed her internal medicine residency and a geriatric fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.