Adequate Hydration Is Essential

by | Sep 5, 2023 | Uncategorized

Water is life. You can go many days without food, but you can’t survive too long without precious water. Our bodies are composed of more than 50% water, and we are constantly trying to replacement lost fluids. Unfortunately, we’re not built like a cactus or camel that can store up water. We have to rely on drinking water throughout the day, every day, to stay hydrated.

Maintaining proper hydration in the body is critical to all biological functions. A state of dehydration can cause a whole host of neurological, cardiovascular, digestive, kidney, and skin abnormalities. Think about how you felt the last time you were out in the hot sun for too long. Maybe your head started to ache, you got nauseated, you couldn’t think clearly, maybe you felt so tired you could fall over. Severe dehydration is not pleasant, and if it progresses can lead to an emergent situation.

There is not a definitive answer for how much water one should drink on a daily basis. Anyone that does a search on the internet will find a variety of answers, calculations, algorithms, etc., on how much water you should consume. I am going to provide a few suggestions, but feel free to come up with your own hydration plan. One method is to take half of your body weight (in pounds) and drink that many ounces of water. So, for a 200-lb man they would drink roughly 100 ounces of water throughout the day. At the very minimum, you should strive to drink 2.5-3 liters a day.

Another method to gauge your hydration level, one that nurses and physicians sometimes use, is to observe the color of a person’s urine. If your pee is a dark yellow, you definitely need more water. If it’s a pale, straw color then you should be good. If it’s totally clear, and you’re having to pee every half hour, then you’re probably drinking too much.

Can one drink too much water? I remember growing up and hearing about a radio show contest in which contestants had to drink the most water in the shortest amount of time. It sounded like a great challenge. Why not? It’s just water. Then, one of the contestants died. Yup, it’s called water intoxication. It occurs when the body absorbs a large volume of water in a short amount of time, thus disrupting the balance of electrolytes in the body and causing a catastrophic shift of water into brain tissue. The brain then swells inside its tight-fitting skull, eventually leading to unconsciousness and death. The point of this story is finding the right balance for hydration.

Try starting out your day with a spoonful of sole (“so-lay”) water. You just need a teaspoon or so to add to a full glass of water. Sole is water that has been super-saturated with Himalayan pink salt. It has many reported health benefits including improved digestion and hydration. If you’re interested in trying sole, stop into Salted Desert for some tips on how to make this wonderful, mineral-rich liquid.

Stay safe and be well,

Nurse Pete