As the summer months begin to heat up, it is worth mentioning one of the most common health topics of the season, proper hydration. I know you probably hear it all the time, but proper hydration is important especially for those aged 55 and above. And, here is why.
At the age of 55 and above:
- The body’s ability to conserve water is reduced;
- The sense of thirst is less acute; and
- Adults tend to eat less and may sometimes forget to eat or drink especially when living alone
All the above problems become compounded by illnesses such as diabetes, by hormonal changes associated with menopause, and by the use of certain medications. So, it is very important to make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
So now you ask, “How much water should I be drinking?” The typical response to that question is at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. Why 8 to 10 glasses? Well, if the body consists of anywhere from 50 to 70% water, then at least 50% of your body weight needs to remain water. To calculate the amount of water your body will need on a daily basis use the below formula.
0.5 ounces x Body Weight in Pounds = Daily Fluid Requirement in ounces (divide by 8 oz. for the number of glasses)
Example: An individual who weighs 140 lbs will need…
.5×140=70 ounces of water or 8.75 glasses
Remember, thirst is not always a reliable gauge for older adults. A better indicator is the color of urine. Clear or light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated; whereas, a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.
If you’re a healthy adult, you can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, such as water or a sports drink (e.g., Gatorade, PowerAde). Seek immediate medical care if you develop severe signs and symptoms such as extreme thirst, a lack of urination, shriveled skin, dizziness and confusion.
So, a toast (with water) to you for a happy and healthy summer…