I hear complaints every day about how bodies just are not working the way they should. As someone who spends an extreme amount of time with the aging population of Mountain Home, this is quite a common occurrence. "My memory, my blood pressure, my weight...my, my, my." The first question I always ask is "have you been drinking enough water?"
I admit, I do not drink enough myself. However, I do make a conscious effort to try. As the body ages, the percentage of fluid in a body decreases. Therefore, aging adults need to make their best effort to fill that bodily requirement. Some common complications of not drinking enough fluid are blood pressure abnormalities, urinary tract infections (UTI), and weight changes. In the aging population, these concerns grow into worry and sometimes unreasonable behavior.
I was told by a facility manager that when an elderly patient starts acting differently than what is typical, they choose to check them for urinary tract infections immediately to either rule out reasons for the new behavior, or get treatment going for positive test results. I have witnessed this happening first-hand many times. I had a very sweet woman who was always positive, decide that it was time for her to go and decided that she had outlasted her use. This was very non-typical for this spiritually-bounding, mild-mannered, favorite friend of mine. She had a UTI. The Mayo Clinic explains how water is the first preventative measure to prevent these.
The brain and heart also require fluid to function properly. Dehydration can cause short-term memory loss and blood pressure changes.
One last thing; coffee and tea are not water. Beer and wine, you guessed it, are also not water. These types of drinks will add to dehydration. They are drinks that can be consumed moderately in addition to water. Many varieties are on the market or one can spice it up themselves by adding a chunk or twist a favorite fruit or vegetable in it. Some options are oranges, limes, lemons, honeydew, raspberries, cucumbers, or one can purchase an electrolyte drink.
The effects of aging are going to continue, but we can take advantage of the one thing we are blessed to have readily available for free in this great country of ours...fresh, clean water. As always, feel free to call with questions. Brandie Garlitz, Community/Senior Health Care Blogger 591-0527