Department of Geriatric Medicine,
Yenepoya Medical College Mangalore, Karnataka
Hydration- making a difference
As people grow older, the thirst sensation may lessen, which can affect overall fluid intake. Nearly 25% of the elderly suffer mild chronic dehydration. This can result in some problems like confusion, UTIs, headaches and irritability.
The average amount of water that people need to drink is 8-10 glasses of water per day unless restricted due to any disease condition.
Health Benefits of water:
- Water is a basic nutrient of life and is essential for health. Many studies show that good hydration can assist in the management and prevention of many medical conditions.
- • Pressure Ulcers: Poorly hydrated individuals are twice as likely to develop pressure ulcers. Fluid intake helps correct impaired hydration, increases levels of tissue oxygen and enhances ulcer healing.
- • Constipation: is commonly seen in elderly due to poor mobility, low fibre intake, inadequate fluid intake and impaired colonic activity. You should eat more wholegrain cereals & pulses and fruit and vegetables and also increase fluid intake to a minimum of 8 cups per day. Inadequate fluid intake is one of the most frequent causes of constipation.
- • Urinary tract infections and continence: Maintaining adequate hydration is essential for the prevention of urinary tract infection. You may often worry about increased toilet visits during the night-have water/beverage during the day &avoid late evening drinks
- • Kidney and gallstones: Good hydration can reduce the risk of most stone formation as it helps to prevent crystallization of stone-forming salts
- • Cognitive impairment: Symptoms of mild dehydration include lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches and tiredness, and reduced alertness and ability to concentrate. This has been identified as one of the risk factors for falls in older people.
- • Skin: Drinking water helps keep skin healthy and younger-looking. Hot water with a piece of ginger/tulsi/ lemon can appeal to those who want a hot drink. Many of you may prefer to drink “little and more often.
During travelling, carry your personal water bottle & avoid Dehydration.