Author: Bob Roth

(Jewish News) As we head into the second week of June, the Phoenix and surrounding area weather forecast for this coming weekend is calling for above 110 degrees. You would think that after living in the Valley of the Sun for the last 28 years, one would be used to this kind of extreme heat by now. There is something about 110 that just says it is so oppressive out there.

In Phoenix and around the country, we are entering what is known as the “dog days of summer.”

Along with the increase in heat, let my column be a reminder about how important it is to drink plenty of water.

When we were younger, I don’t recall drinking as much water as we do today. Does everyone else feel the same way? I remember drinking milk and soda but very little water.

Statistically, more than half of Americans do not drink enough water. In fact, a study done by the mineral water brand Evian for their #stayhydrated campaign showed that of 2,000 people polled from the United States, just 22% drink the USDA recommended amount. Instead, the average American is drinking only half the recommended amount.

The most often given response was that they were too busy or didn’t remember to drink more.

Here are some facts with regards to the importance of water: Every part of your body needs water. In fact, water makes up 60% of body weight. Dehydration happens when there is not enough water in your body. Mild dehydration can cause headaches, nausea and fatigue.

Shortly after his heart attack in August 2017, my father found himself so severely dehydrated after a bout of diarrhea that my stepmother called 911. The paramedics attempted to get an IV started but were unsuccessful as they could not find a vein, and my father had to be transported to the hospital. In the emergency room, after sticking him about half a dozen times, they were able to get the IV line inserted and started. After a stint in the emergency department, he was able to return home.

Dehydration is a serious condition and for older adults the risks become even greater.

Dehydration complicates other health issues seniors are challenged with; that is why it is vitally important that they drink enough water each day. When aging adults become dehydrated, they face increased risks, including:

• Confusion – Dehydration negatively impacts brain function. Some aging adults are misdiagnosed as having dementia or delirium when they just need more water. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may experience an increase in confusion and forgetfulness associated with dehydration.

• Heart Disease – Because water is a primary component of blood, dehydration can cause an increased risk of heart attack, especially in people who already have heart disease.

• Risk of falls – Dehydration can cause lightheadedness, especially upon standing. Staying hydrated can play an important role in preventing injury due to muscle weakness or dizziness.

Seniors may also experience increased risks associated with diabetes, kidney problems and low blood pressure when they don’t drink enough water.

So how much water should one consume? This is often debated in terms of the exact quantity. In researching this, I came across an article from the Mayo Clinic and below you will find some of my findings.

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult in a temperate climate need? The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

• About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men – 125 ounces

• About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women – 91 ounces

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food.

About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

Knowing that 60% of our body mass is made up of water, let’s make sure we keep our bodies properly hydrated. Let’s raise a glass — well maybe over 10 glasses a day — and toast to good health and proper hydration, to the source that gives us life — “water.” L’chaim!

This article was originally posted on Jewish News.

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