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Water and Senior Citizens

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Symptoms of dehydration:

  • Confusion
  • Chronic fatigue and lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Labored speech
  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken eyeballs
  • Unable to urinate or pass only small amounts of dark or deep yellow urine

Senior citizens are at particular risk for dehydration because their kidney function has diminished to some degree. Side effects for seniors who do not drink enough water, however, extend far beyond dehydration. Even short-term water deprivation has been known to cause chronic pain. Over time, lack of water causes loss of muscle tone, excess weight gain, slow metabolism, increased toxicity, and even organ failure. Other negative effects include arthritis, dry skin, migraines, hypertension, digestive complications, and persistent constipation.

In order to maintain health, the kidneys must excrete a minimum of ten ounces of waste per day. When water is not available, there is nothing present in which to dissolve the body's waste products (uric acid and urea) for expulsion. As a result, they build up within the body, leading to kidney stones, while putting additional strain on the kidneys to find adequate liquid with which to expel toxins.

Considering the abundance of water in our daily lifestyles, the fact that most senior citizens are consistently dehydrated to some degree is alarming. All foods are partly composed of water; fruits and vegetables are over 75% H2O, and even bread is more than 30% water. Yet with the abundance of water in their diet, the average senior citizen still requires over two-and-a-half quarts of pure water each and every day to maintain good health. Encourage your loved ones not to wait until they are thirsty to start drinking water. At that point dehydration has already begun. Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption is a healthy way to help keep your diet hydrated. Vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, and celery are all about 90-99% water. Eating healthy has more benefits than just losing weight. It is a way to increase your energy, mood, hydration and the overall way you live your life. Eat healthy, stay hydrated, and be happy!

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