Health & Nutrition - - NUTRITION UPDATE -

QYour mag­a­zine says drink atleast eight glasses of wa­ter in a day. But I fin­ish four one-litre bot­tles of wa­ter dur­ing my of­fice hours and at least one litre dur­ing my com­mute. I have diabetes and high blood pres­sure. Is this the rea­son I am drink­ing more wa­ter? Is ex­cess wa­ter harm­ful to health? Also, what are the pit­falls if a per­son drinks less than eight glasses of wa­ter a day? Pradeep Ku­mar,

ADrink­ing wa­ter is good. But drink­ing a lot more is not al­ways bet­ter. You are drink­ing five litres of wa­ter along with other flu­ids – tea/ dal etc in a day. Some peo­ple drink more wa­ter than usual which is gen­er­ally 2-2.5 litres in a day. If your diabetes is un­con­trolled/ poorly con­trolled, you can be drink­ing more wa­ter. Ex­cess wa­ter in­take can be harm­ful, es­pe­cially among the el­derly, who are gen­er­ally on di­uret­ics, for blood pres­sure/ heart ail­ments and are also re­strict­ing their salt in­take for the same. When kid­neys flush out ex­cess wa­ter, with that they also throw out sodium lead­ing to low sodium lev­els in the blood. This leads to com­pli­ca­tions, such as lethargy, drowsi­ness, con­fu­sion and in some cases hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sion. So the el­derly, in par­tic­u­lar, shouldn’t drink ex­cess wa­ter, with­out con­sult­ing a health pro­fes­sional. Our body has 70% wa­ter, there­fore less than ad­e­quate wa­ter in­take is not good as the nor­mal body func­tions will not be car­ried out op­ti­mally, and the meta­bolic rate may drop. In­ad­e­quate wa­ter in­take may also lead to con­sti­pa­tion, lack of skin glow and weight gain.

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