Water and Diabetes

Have you ever been dying of thirst and a coworker or friend said, "You know, you may have diabetes?" It sounds like a stretch, but in reality, thirst can be a signal of this disease that is taking America by storm.


So why is thirst linked to diabetes? According to a 1995 CNN.com article, with diabetes, excess blood sugar, or glucose, in your body draws water from your tissues, making you feel dehydrated. To quench your thirst, you drink a lot of water and other beverages which leads to more frequent urination. If you notice unexplained increases in your thirst and urination, see your doctor. It may not necessarily mean you have diabetes. It could be something else.

If you already have diabetes, then you know that you already have to make some changes to your diet. As mentioned above, drinking water in place of sugary options is crucial. Water is, according to diabetes specialists, important for everybody, but especially for diabetes patients, because even a small decrease in the hydration level could cause serious health problems for diabetics. One of the best warning signs that glucose levels are high is thirst. And, water is the best way to quench that thirst and to break down those sugars. Also, in order to keep the body functioning normally, water should be constant. But, water can be lost through exercise and normal exposure to high temps. With that, being hydrated will help prevent fatigue and help physical performance.

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A study presented at the annual meeting of the American diabetes association included 3,615 men and women with normal blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study. Those who reported they drank more than 36 ounces of water a day (4.5 cups) were 21% less likely to develop hyperglycemia over the next 9 years than those who said they drank 16 ounces (2 cups) or less daily. The analysis took into account other factors that can affect the risk of high blood sugar such as physical activity, age, weight, etc. According to this study, people who drink more water could share some unmeasured factor that associates drinking more water and lowering the risk of high blood sugar.

Because pure water has no calories, no sodium, and contains no fat or cholesterol, as stated before it is the best supplement for someone with diabetes. Plus, it also has no caffeine, which is a dehydrator. Sugary juices and sodas do contain water but cannot be counted as part of the "eight-glass-a-day" rule. These drinks must be avoided to prevent increased glucose levels.

High glucose causes your body to lose fluid, and your skin can get dry. It may get itchy or crack which can lead to an infection. Drinking plenty of water will help keep your skin healthy and moisturized. Also, if the glucose isn’t accepted by the body, it will release the glucose through the urine. This procedure uses water from the body so it is important for diabetics to keep their bodies hydrated.

When at home, drinking safe tap water is fine, but when always on the go, a diabetic should always carry a reusable water bottle. Bottled water does have its advantages, as it is portable, and actually kind of reminds you to think about drinking water throughout the day. But, if your bottled water of choice is one of those flavored waters with an artificial sweetener, it actually becomes a soft drink, according to the American Diabetes Association. The ADA does not approve flavored waters with the essence of fruit as great alternatives to plain water.

So, does a diabetic solely have to rely on water as a drink? While diet soft drinks are considered safe for people with diabetes, one should talk to a dietitian or doctor about the amount you should consume. While some here and there could be okay, excess diet drinks can actually cause more thirst and they can also become addictive, leaving the patient not wanting to consume their water! When it comes to juice, a regular size glass of juice is made from several pieces of fruit-- and the carbohydrate grams can add up quickly. Plus, the fiber in juice is much less compared to the whole fruit and the calories add up much quicker too. The same fruit taste could be added by learning to dilute the juice with water and ice so you can get the benefits of water with a fruitier taste.

So in conclusion, pure water should drunk most often. Bottled water with artificial sweeteners is not highly recommended, but reusable bottled water, in general, is, as it promotes consistent replenishing of fluids throughout the day. And, this water should replace sugary drinks that are said to heighten glucose levers-- as well as are linked to causing the diseases in the first place. There is some evidence that proper hydration can help protect against high blood sugar, but this has not been scientifically proven and more research needs to be done. However, drinking water is essential for hydrating every aspect of your body therefore it is important to sip water throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty!

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