Drink wa­ter! Even mild de­hy­dra­tion af­fects health

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - Email me at: rboggs@arkansason­line.com

Wa­ter, wa­ter, ev­ery­where, Nor any drop to drink. — Sa­muel Tay­lor Co­leridge, “The Rime of the An­cient Mariner” ROSE­MARY BOGGS

There are foods that ben­e­fit from de­hy­dra­tion. This process has been prac­ticed world­wide since an­cient times with things such as meats, fruits and veg­eta­bles, but for all the good de­hy­dra­tion does for food, it is hor­ri­ble for our bod­ies.

I know peo­ple who rarely drink wa­ter, and some of them turn me in to the wa­ter po­lice. But in the end, we are the masters of our des­tinies, and our lives re­ally are in our hands most of the time.

I found an ar­ti­cle on the Univer­sity of Con­necti­cut To­day web­site (to­day.uconn.edu) ti­tled “Even Mild De­hy­dra­tion Can Al­ter Mood.” It is rather eye open­ing.

Lawrence Arm­strong, a sci­en­tist and pro­fes­sor of phys­i­ol­ogy at UConn is quoted as say­ing that “our thirst sen­sa­tion doesn’t ap­pear un­til de­hy­dra­tion has al­ready set in. It then starts to af­fect how our mind and body per­form.”

Two stud­ies were con­ducted at the univer­sity’s Hu­man Per­for­mance Lab­o­ra­tory. The stud­ies showed that it didn’t mat­ter if a per­son walked for 40 min­utes on a tread­mill or sat at rest — the ad­verse ef­fects from mild de­hy­dra­tion were the same. And one of the stud­ies found that women ap­pear to be more sus­cep­ti­ble to the ad­verse ef­fects of low lev­els of de­hy­dra­tion than men. But find­ing out why, they say, will take more re­search.

The signs of de­hy­dra­tion can in­clude bad breath, dry skin, mus­cle cramps, food crav­ings, and fever and chills.

To check hy­dra­tion you can try the skin test. Use two fingers to grab a roll of skin on the back of your hand. Pull up the skin and let it go. If it doesn’t spring back to its orig­i­nal po­si­tion in just a cou­ple of sec­onds you could be de­hy­drated. Or check your urine. Yel­low, chardon­nay and orange are warn­ing col­ors.

We’ve been told we should drink eight 8-ounce serv­ings a day, but that has not been proved. The Mayo Clinic (may­oclinic.org) says it’s be­cause phrases like “drink 8 by 8” are easy to re­mem­ber.

The In­sti­tute of Medicine, a non­profit arm of the U.S. Na­tional Academy of Sciences, de­ter­mined that an ad­e­quate in­take (AI) for men is roughly 13 cups and for women nine cups of to­tal bev­er­ages a day.

Our other fluid in­take also counts to­ward the daily to­tal. Milk, juice, beer, wine, cof­fee, tea and soda can con­trib­ute, but should not be a ma­jor por­tion of our daily flu­ids. And what we eat can help fill our fluid needs too. Foods like wa­ter­melon and spinach are about 90 per­cent wa­ter.

Mod­ify in­take depend­ing on your level of ex­er­cise, en­vi­ron­ment, health, or if you’re preg­nant or breast-feed­ing.

High blood sugar in di­a­bet­ics can also lead to de­hy­dra­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion web­site, di­a­betes.org. When blood sugar is ab­nor­mally high, the body at­tempts to re­duce the glu­cose level by dump­ing it into the urine. But wa­ter also leaves our body with the glu­cose when we uri­nate. It can lead to de­hy­dra­tion un­less we drink enough fluid to keep up with the in­creased uri­na­tion.

Although it is un­com­mon, the Mayo Clinic web­site says it is pos­si­ble to drink too much wa­ter. When our kid­neys are un­able to ex­crete ex­cess wa­ter, the min­eral con­tent of the blood is di­luted, re­sult­ing in low sodium lev­els in the blood, which is called hy­pona­tremia.


The Sher­wood Cham­ber of Com­merce is hold­ing its sec­ond an­nual Well­ness Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 12 at Sher­wood For­est, 1111 W. Mary­land Ave. in Sher­wood. Ad­mis­sion is free.

The event in­cludes more than 40 fit­ness, health and well­ness-re­lated ven­dors. There will be lec­tures, demon­stra­tions and door prizes.

For in­for­ma­tion con­tact Mar­cia Cook at (501) 835-7600 or at shwd­cham­ber@att.net.


The Amer­i­can Red Cross is in ex­treme need of peo­ple who will do­nate platelets.

Platelets are the clot­ting por­tion of blood used for can­cer and trauma pa­tients, those un­der­go­ing or­gan trans­plants and pre­ma­ture ba­bies. They have a shelf life of five days.

For in­for­ma­tion or to do­nate, go to red­cross­blood.org or call (800) 733-2767.

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