August 17, 2014

Hydration Myths – Part 2

Hydration myths are hydration myths. But when diabetes is in the picture, the solution is not always as easy as it is for healthy adults. This is a continuation of the previous blog.

Myth #4: There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Water.
Celebrities and laypeople alike have claimed that consuming extra water can improve your skin, help you sleep, and boost overall health by "detoxing" your body. But, it’s not necessary. There is no evidence that excess water makes your body more clean. That being said, hopefully you have heard of water poisoning. If you haven't, you have now and the medical term is hyponatremia (a.k.a. low sodium levels), which can result from drinking too much water. Hyponatremia is a rare, but dangerous condition that can develop when athletes and others dilute their bodies' natural sodium content by drinking too much water, causing their water levels to rise and their cells to swell.

Prolonged-endurance athletes, like the folks you see at marathons and triathlons, tend to encounter this ailment most frequently; it’s generally not something you need to stress about during exercise class or a power-walk around your neighborhood. There is no need to go overboard and try over drinking water.

Myth #5: Clear Pee Is The Healthiest Pee.
You’ve probably heard that proper hydration leads to completely-clear pee. That’s true for the most part, but you can cut yourself a bit of slack; a healthy urinary hue can range from fully clear to a light, lemonade-ish yellow. Dark urine does indicate dehydration, though, so pay attention to what’s in your toilet bowl or urinal, especially during the summer. Drink more water if your urine is more deep-gold than pale-yellow. You should be drinking enough to make you go to the bathroom every two to four hours, during the summer.

Myth #6: Severe Dehydration Is An “Old-People’s Problem.”
Although dehydration is a bigger risk for children, older folks, and people with chronic illnesses, it can and does happen to healthy adults, too, especially those who live in high altitudes or who exercise vigorously in hot, humid weather, or the hottest part of the day. Other than thirst, signs to watch for are heightened temperature, a flushed complexion, rapid pulse, fast breathing, dizziness, and overall weakness. If you notice any of those symptoms, stop what you’re doing and replenish your fluid levels, as soon as possible.

You’ll want to seek out immediate medical care, though, if you notice signs of extreme dehydration, such as: super-dry mouth, skin, or mucus membranes; sunken eyes; little to zero urine output; pinched-looking skin; low blood pressure; and confusion, delirium, or unconsciousness. Complications of this kind of dehydration can be frightening and severe: seizures, brain swelling, kidney failure, coma, and even death, to name a few.

Sounds Scary - Here's How To Deal
The best way to deal with dehydration is to drink enough liquids to prevent it from happening in the first place. Other ways to stay hydrated this summer are to eat water-rich fruits and veggies such as celery, pineapple, watermelon, kiwi, citrus fruits, and carrots; they won’t meet your hydration needs on their own, but they can help give a boost. Coconut water is great, as are some forms of dairy, such as yogurt and kefir. Soup, oatmeal, and smoothies are also good choices. For those of us with diabetes, we need to find other foods and those with lower numbers of carbohydrates.

No matter how you opt to keep your body hydrated the remainder of this summer, make hydration a priority. The summer months may be all about fun in the sun, but there’s nothing more fun-squashing than having to hide out in your apartment (or beach house, or hotel room, or cabin in the woods) with a bad case of the dehydration blues. Even worse, spending time in the hospital while being treated for dehydration.

Some events are held during the hottest part of the day and if you are having problems with dehydration, it might be wise to avoid these. Do your exercising during the cool part of the day or most often in the early morning. Occasionally the evening will be cool enough to do your exercising. If it is very hot, find an air-conditioned building for your exercising.

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