Ask Dr Libby

Waitaki Herald - - YOUR HEALTH -

Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

th­ese on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

As a gen­eral guide, most adults will need be­tween two and three litres of fluid a day. Eight glasses of wa­ter would put you at the lower end of this range.How­ever, we also ob­tain some fluid from non-starchy vegeta­bles, soups and other drinks such as herbal teas.

If you would like to have a num­ber of glasses to aim for each day, eight glasses is prob­a­bly a good start­ing point, but I en­cour­age you to tune in to your body’s thirst sig­nals and be guided by this. After all, thirst is the body’s way of sig­nalling to you that it re­quires wa­ter.

Q: I’ve been told that my to­tal body wa­ter ranges be­tween 56-58 per cent. What should my to­tal body wa­ter be and how do I know if I’m re­tain­ing too much fluid? Kin­d­est, Jen­nifer

A: Hi Jen­nifer. Per­cent­age body wa­ter can vary de­pend­ing on a num­ber of fac­tors, such as age, gen­der and level of mus­cle mass. It can be any­where from 45 to 70 per cent of body weight but for adults, it is typ­i­cally be­tween 50 to 60 per cent.

With­out know­ing how your to­tal body wa­ter was mea­sured it’s dif­fi­cult to com­ment on this, but I en­cour­age you to re­flect on the level of ac­cu­racy that can be ob­tained when mea­sur­ing your body com­po­si­tion out­side a lab­o­ra­tory set­ting. Rather than look­ing to a mea­sure­ment, I can­not en­cour­age you enough to sim­ply bring aware­ness to your body and any signs or symp­toms that may in­di­cate de­hy­dra­tion or fluid re­ten­tion.

A mea­sure­ment of to­tal body wa­ter doesn’t tell us the full pic­ture, as it doesn’t in­di­cate where the fluid ac­tu­ally is in the

Thirst is the body’s way of sig­nalling to you that it re­quires wa­ter.

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