Health Topic Archives

Stay Hydrated!

By Dr. Samuel Ascioti

On a hot summer day, nothing can be as refreshing as a nice chilled glass of water to quench thirst. Water is essential for life on Earth, and the human body is roughly made up of up to 70% water. For Corning Chiropractic Associate’s July 2017 article, we will be discussing the importance of proper hydration and what can happen when a person becomes dehydrated!


Stay Hydrated in the Hot Summer MonthsNow that summer has officially begun, many people will take to the warm outdoors for fun in the sun. For most, this will eventually involve some degree of sweating. With any activity involving warm weather, a person will begin to sweat as their internal body temperature begins to climb. Sweating is a perfectly normal response to exercise and overly warm temperatures, as the body tries to cool itself by evaporating sweat on the skin’s surface. However, during this process, water in the body is lost, and an individual slowly starts to dehydrate.

The amount of liquid a person should drink used to be considered eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine recommended that males consume 125 ounces (15+ cups) of water, and females 91 ounces (11+ cups) per day, including from food sources. Athletes and manual laborers should be drinking more than this amount. Whether a person sweats bucket loads or barely at all, in summer or in winter, maintaining proper levels of hydration is absolutely critical. Many different factors can affect a person’s state of hydration, such as activity level, illness/injury, etc.

What is dehydration?
In a nutshell, dehydration occurs when the human body loses too much fluid and creates an imbalance in the amount of electrolytes present in the blood. Blood plasma - the liquid part of blood - is heavily dependent on proper levels of hydration.

Dehydration can occur in a variety of ways - the most obvious reason is by not drinking enough fluids. Obviously, sweating and exercise can contribute to fluid loss throughout the day. There are other causes of dehydration, too; fluids can be lost through illnesses that cause vomiting and diarrhea.

What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
Signs and Symptoms of DehydrationIn the early stages of dehydration, a person may experience:

With early dehydration, resting in a cool, shady spot is important, as well as replenishing lost fluids.

If a person does not replenish lost fluids, dehydration can become more severe. With severe dehydration, a person may experience:

Patients experiencing any of the above severe dehydration symptoms should seek medical help immediately!

How does hydration affect the spine?
Between each of the vertebrae in the spine are the important intervertebral discs, which act as shock absorbers throughout the spine. The center of a disc is a wet, jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus, and the center is surrounded by a tough, fibrous tissue made of gelatinous material. The outer ring protects the nucleus pulposus.

During the day, as a human body is upright, gravity and motion act to compress the spine, slowly squeezing water from each disc. Drinking the appropriate amount of water each day helps protect the spine by hydrating and lubricating the discs - without proper hydration, the discs will not act as the cushions they are meant to be, and back pain and decreased mobility can possibly result.

What can I do to stay hydrated?
Drink Plenty of FluidsSimple: drink plenty of fluids during the day! As mentioned earlier, a typical person should drink between 8-10 glasses of fluids per day, and this amount may need to increase depending on an individual’s daily level of physical exertion and exposure to heat and sunlight.

Water, juice, milk, and homemade rehydration drinks are all excellent choices for restoring fluids and replenishing lost electrolytes. In a pinch, soda pop can also rehydrate, but soda pop should be regarded as a treat instead of an essential rehydration drink. Fruits - such as oranges, honeydew melons, and watermelon (which is about 90% water) - can also aid an individual in replenishing lost bodily fluids.

What about coffee and tea? And alcoholic beverages?
For quite a while, the common thought was that, since coffee and tea are diuretics (meaning they make people urinate more frequently) they must also dehydrate. This is actually not the case; both tea and coffee count towards a person’s daily fluid intake count.

Alcohol, however, definitely causes dehydration. When drinking alcohol (especially in the hot summer), a person should try to shoot for a 1:1 ratio of water to alcoholic beverages over the course of a meal or occasion. For every pint of beer, drink a pint of water. For every glass of wine, drink a glass of water. And so on.

In conclusion…
This summer (and even during the winter!) drink plenty of fluids during the day! For some, an increase in fluid may mean more frequent trips to the bathroom, but it’s well worth it! If you have any questions about hydration, talk to your chiropractor!

Urine Chart to Determine How Dehydrated You Are

Click here to view a chart that shows the consequences of dehydration.

References For This Article:

Dehydration - Home Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2017, from
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/tc/dehydration-home-treatment#1

Dehydration - Topic Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2017, from
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/tc/dehydration-topic-overview

Huang, L. H. (2016, November 27). Dehydration. Retrieved June 28, 2017, from
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/906999-overview#a4

Soong, J. (2011, September 9). What Counts as Water? Stay Hydrated and Healthy. Retrieved June 28, 2017,
from http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/healthy-beverages#1

Whidden, K. (2017, January 04). Why Hydration Is Important to Spinal Health. Retrieved June 28, 2017, from
https://www.destinchiropractor.com/hydration/

Zelman, K. M. (2010, January 14). The Wonders of Water. Retrieved June 28, 2017, from
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/wonders-of-water#1

Image References:

http://oregonsportsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Dehydration.jpg
https://giantveggiegardener.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/hot-sun-pic.jpg

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