Vitality - Healthy Aging NewsletterSpring 2013

A Glass of Water May Be the Best Remedy

Are your symptoms caused by dehydration?

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Symptoms including confusion, dizziness, light-headedness, or fatigue aren't always signs of a serious illness.

You may just need to drink a glass of water. Those symptoms, plus dry mouth, headache, muscle weakness, and nausea could be due to dehydration.

As we age, we become more susceptible to dehydration. We don't sense thirst as well as we used to, our body's ability to conserve water decreases, and medications or health conditions such as diabetes or cancer can compound these problems. We may even drink less because we fear incontinence.

To stay hydrated, drink at least six, 8-ounce glasses of water daily (more when you're exercising), and eat fruits and vegetables high in water content. To keep it easy, fill a pitcher with water every morning, and finish it by day's end.

Severe dehydration is life-threatening, and can lead to an increased heart rate, low blood pressure, and delirium. Staying hydrated is especially important if you've had surgery, since dehydration slows healing, increases constipation, and decreases nutritional intake needed for recovery. If you aren't getting enough fluids due to swallowing problems, incontinence, or other reasons, talk with your doctor.

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