Importance of Drinking Enough Water

Written by: Dr. Shila Neupane, Dr. Azka feroz. Dr. Astha Prasai, Dr. Mubashira sarnaik
Mentor: Dr. Lubna Mirza. Norman Endocrinology Associates

Drink more water. That’s a phrase many of us heard as children, but struggle to remember as adults in a busy world. Few of us will actually consider the immense benefits that maintaining hydration can have on our bodies. Dehydration can occur through sweating, fevers, or sickness with negative effects on the functioning of our body, including the heart. With less body water, your blood volume reduces, causing your heart to beat faster and keep up the heart rate and blood pressure. More sodium builds up in the bloodstream, thickening it, and causing difficulty in circulation. Those most at risk for dehydration are athletes, the elderly, and children. Conditions like heart disease or diabetes may also require more water for keeping your body running well. Dehydration can lead to mild conditions like a headache but can progress to heat stroke or worse if there is a severe loss of water.

Mild dehydration signs include: increased thirst, a dry mouth, dark yellow urine, less urination, or headaches.
Severe dehydration signs include: dry skin, sunken eyes, no urination, dark yellow urine, irritability, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, or unconsciousness. This requires medical treatment immediately.

Women should consume 11 cups or 2.7L of water daily. Men should consume 15.5 cups or 3.7L of water daily, in a temperate climate. Depending on the weather and lifestyle, more water consumption might be needed to meet the demands of your body. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. With better hydration, our bodies can keep up the optimal functioning of our organs and blood circulation.

Here we present some diseases which are affected by hydration.

Should a patient with heart failure restrict fluid intake?

Yes, if you are having a severe heart failure. European Society of Cardiology suggests patients with symptoms of severe Heart failure should avoid excessive fluid intake. They should restrict the fluid to 1.5 to 2 liters per day in order to reduce the symptoms. However, it is not recommended to restrict fluid for a patient with mild to moderate symptoms of heart failure.
Who should restrict fluid?

Individuals with severe low salt in the circulation or patients who have symptoms of fluid retention that are difficult to treat despite of the use of high- dose of diuretics and salt restriction.

How do I know I am suffering from severe heart failure?

If you develop fatigue, shortness of breath, and palpitation at minimal physical activity or at rest.
How do I know I am suffering from mild to moderate heart failure?
If you are experiencing symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and palpitation after participating in strenuous physical activity.

How can I measure fluid?

1 cup = 8 oz = 240 cc
4 cups = 32 oz = 1 qt = 1000 cc = 1 liter
8 cups = 64 oz = 2 qts = 2000 cc = 2 liters
1 ml = 1 cc 1oz. = 30 cc

According to the guidelines, a blood pressure (BP) of £ 120/80 mm of Hg is considered normal. If the blood pressure is more than equal to 130/80 it is considered as high blood pressure.

What happens when we have periods of frequent dehydration?

When a person consumes less water for a long time, their blood volume decreases. This leads the body to secrete various hormones, increasing blood volume and constricting the blood vessels. Furthermore, studies have shown that dehydration reduces the synthesis of a hormone that causes vessels to dilate. This means more constriction and less dilation of blood vessels. As a result, high blood pressure develops. Some people tend to have periods of dehydration due to the physical demands of their jobs during workdays. Studies have shown that such behavior can exacerbate hypertension and negatively affect kidney function.

What happens when we drink more than necessary?

In healthy individuals, excess water consumed is lost through urine. However, consuming a lot more water than necessary can dilute the salt and electrolytes in our blood and cause serious consequences.
To conclude, it is important to remain well hydrated to maintain normal blood pressure. Increasing thirst, peeing less, strong-smelling urine and dark yellow urine, dry lips, feeling dizzy, and feeling tired are signs that indicate we are dehydrated. However, there is no ideal amount of glasses of water to consume. Drinking six to eight glasses is considered adequate unless your doctor has instructed you to limit fluid intake to manage other health conditions.

Importance of diabetes and hydration:

Diabetic patients can experience dehydration due to vigorous exercise or strenuous outdoor activity. Replacing essential electrolytes and minerals can be especially challenging for people with type 2 diabetes. Many hydration sports drinks contain a lot added sugar and empty calories. It can be a challenge for people with diabetes to restore electrolytes without subjecting themselves to an abundance of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Sending your blood sugar levels skyrocketing while trying to rehydrate is counterproductive.

However, sugar-free options have pitfalls of their own. Artificial sweeteners have been the subject of much debate and controversy over the years, and many studies have proven that they can be detrimental to your health. When it comes to quenching your thirst, zero- or low-calorie beverages are typically your best bet. Even low-sugar options, such as vegetable juice, should be consumed in moderation. Dairy products are not considered low-sugar beverages. When it comes to hydration, water is the best option for diabetics when it comes to hydration. Because drinking enough water allows your body to eliminate excess glucose through urine while not raising your blood sugar levels. Diabetics should be aware that high blood sugar levels can lead to dehydration.

Avoid teas with added sugars, whether green, black, white, or oolong. Make your own iced tea with a few slices of lemon for a refreshing taste. Herbal teas such as chamomile, hibiscus, ginger, and peppermint tea are all excellent choices for diabetics. Herbal tea is not only low in carbs, calories, and sugar, but it is also high in disease-fighting antioxidant compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Green smoothies are a great way to get more fiber and nutrients into your diet while staying hydrated. Make your own by combining green vegetables such as spinach, kale, or celery with protein powder and a bit of fruit for a healthy, homemade smoothie. Remember that fruits contain carbohydrates, so count them in your daily carbohydrate intake.

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