With summer in full swing dehydration becomes a concern for people of all
ages, especially in older adults. Water makes up 70% of the human body
and plays a major role in keeping the body functioning properly. It’s
important to drink enough water to keep your body fluids in balance and
help maintain proper temperature, otherwise, you run the risk of dehydration.
Dehydration, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a condition in which water or fluid loss far exceeds fluid intake.
The body becomes less able to maintain adequate blood pressure, deliver
sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the cells and rid itself of wastes.
“As we get older, it’s more difficult for our bodies to manage
extreme heat, we have a harder time recognizing when we are thirsty and
our body’s ability to conserve water is reduced,” says Dr.
Brian Kauth of
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Northeast Hickory. “This means our bodies may start to excrete more water than we
In addition, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says other
changes associated with aging may make us more vulnerable to dehydration.
- Hormonal changes associated with menopause
- Some types of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease
- Certain medications like diuretics, laxatives, or blood pressure medications
Unfortunately, by the time you start to feel thirsty, your body has already
lost fluids. So it’s important to be aware of this risk –
especially if you’re using medications on a regular basis –
and to discuss the potential risks with your doctors. How do you know
if you or a loved one is dehydrated? Thirst, fatigue, weakness, headaches,
mood swings and decreased urination and a dark yellow color of the urine
are all signs of dehydration.
If left untreated dehydration can be fatal. Follow these tips from Dr.
Kauth on how to keep hydrated this summer:
- Stay cool and out of direct sun
- Keep fluids like water or a sports drink nearby
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, both act as a mild diuretic and cause frequent urination
- Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Drink frequently, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty
To make an appointment with Dr. Kauth at
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Northeast Hickory located at 2386 Springs Road NE Hickory, NC 28601 call 828.256.2112. Office
hours are Monday – Friday 8am – 12:15pm and 1:15 pm –
5:00 pm. A doctor can be reached after-hours by calling 828.324.0258.