There are many reasons to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily:
- Staying hydrated helps with one of the biggest problems in Parkinson’s – constipation. The bowel needs water to work properly, and dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
- Drinking water helps to avoid urinary tract infections (UTIs). Infections, including chest or urinary tract infections are leading causes of admission to hospital for people living with Parkinson’s. They also increase the risk of falls, confusion, delirium and hallucination. Loss of bladder control is a symptom of Parkinson’s because of the unusual messaging to the brain, however if you avoid water intake it will compound continence problems. Instead, see an Urologist for some possible solutions.
- Drinking water helps to avoid high blood pressure. When the body’s cells lack water, the brain sends a signal to the pituitary glad to secrete vasopressin, a chemical that causes constriction of the blood vessels. This causes blood pressure to increase which leads to hypertension.
- Drinking water assists with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
- Drinking water boosts skin health and beauty. With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
- Drinking water cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues. Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.
Dehydration Health Risks
When an individual has long durations of dehydration, cells lose the ability to function properly and die, which can lead to degeneration and disease. Dehydration can lead to poor circulation and blood flow, potentially leading to organ failure, kidney failure, and high blood pressure.
Water also aids in digestion, and therefore dehydration can cause constipation.
Signs of Dehydration
Feeling thirsty is just one of the symptoms that you might feel if you are dehydrated, but it is not the only one.
Warning signs of dehydration also include:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth, nose or skin
- Lack of sweating or tears
- Upper abdominal pain or lower back pain
Tips for Staying Hydrated
There are a few precautions you can take to avoid dehydration. A recommended daily water intake is the well-known 6-8 glasses per day. Your body requires approximately 2 quarts or just under 2 litres of water per day. To make sure hydration is achieved, a glass should be had either with or before each meal or snack throughout the day. Not only is it important to increase fluids such as cold water, it’s also a good idea to limit alcohol, caffeine, high protein drinks, and hot liquids, which exacerbate dehydration because they have a diuretic effect.
Tips for incorporating more fluids into your diet:
- Consume foods with high water content, such as watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, cabbage and spinach
- If you have trouble swallowing, try drinking using a straw
- If you’re worried that drinking too many liquids may lead to incontinence, drink small amounts of water over the course of the day
- Set your YOP-X App to remind you to drink fluids throughout the day
- Limit alcohol, caffeine and hot liquids
- Drink water before, during and after exercise
- Add lemon, lime, orange or cucumber slices, a splash of juice for added enjoyment
- Line up cups on the counter to use throughout the day as a reminder
- Keep a log or checklist of the number of liquids consumed