Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Dehydration - Day 4 of A-Z

Earlier I read a post by a blog friend of mine, Matt at War Bear, and his latest post regarding a stint in hospital suffering from a bad case of dehydration.

So this got me thinking, this would make an ideal post for today's 'D' section. Working as a sports massage therapist and rehab trainer for the past six-and-a-half years you cannot help but pick up almost instantly when someone is not drinking enough fluids - and by fluids I mean water, not soft fizzy drinks, coffee or tea and definitely not alcohol.

And don't get me started on diet drinks or sugar free drinks - all I will say on that is: Aspartame!

Something that everyday folks fail to realise is that water is a nutrient. Essential for the body to perform and function optimally. Ever recall that teacher from your childhood who would breathe a disgusting foulness of breath over you whilst explaining a working out for your math question, or explaining a passage of text?
That stink was a mix of either tea, but most likely coffee and dehydration breath.

Tea and coffee can have a diuretic effect on the body by increasing urge to urinate, and was this happens the danger of falling into a downward spiral to dehydration begins: coffee-urinate-thirst-coffee-urinate-thirst, etc. Caffeine is very good at doing this, so moderation is advised. 

Water plays an essential funtion within the body on many levels. Beaking it down to a basic level, water helps to lubricate the spinal cord, replenishes the fluid with your eyes, and around the brain, it keeps the kidneys flushed and healthy, it gives the skin a healthy glow and helps to maintain its elasticity, and it also help muscular function, preventing strains, sprains and possible tears occurring - dehydrated muscles do not perform well at all, and this is when injuries are sustained most easily.

So, when sitting writing your blog, or your novel, or gaming, sketching or more importantly, exercising: DRINK water at regular intervals. It helps maintain clear cognitive function, wards off lethargy and also cravings for  nibbles when you don't really need them. Centrally heated homes are major culprits contributing to dehydration. Remember, you don't have to be active in order to dehydrate. So much water vapour is lost though breathing, so keeping water by the bedside is also a good idea.

Ultimately, think of it this way: you don't water a plant over a period of weeks. What do you see? It withers, becomes dried up and brittle and eventually dies. We can see this. By denying yourself water, it does not mean it does not have the potential to be catastrophic to the body, just because you cannot witness the effects within you to your organs, muscles and tissue.

I think, outside of the entire planet, we are the only organism that ignores this one, important principle and fact: we need to drink water.


JoJo said...

I can't just drink plain water all the time though. I don't mind taking a bottle with me when I'm walking, but overall I must have Crystal Lite mixed w/ it and YES it has aspartame but I have yet to see any adverse effects that I know of.

Mark K said...

Did you know that aspartame wasn't originally a sweetener? It was discovered by accident. Unfortunately, the man who owned the company producing aspartame was also a member of Congress and used his influence to push it through into the food market. Autopsies carried out on test animals revealed holes had developed in the brain tissue.

Diet drinks are a waste of time, so if a person wishes to drink a soft drink I'd say go for the normal, full flavour option. People tend to guzzle more diet drinks under the misconception that they won't do any harm, yet under that thinking they end up drinking higher quantities.

I too have squash drinks, as well as straight water. No point punishing yourself if you like the taste opposed to plain water. A bit of both isn't so bad ;)

Amanda Heitler said...

Alright, alright. I now have a litre bottle of water on my desk (along with multidudinous other clutter). As a paid up member of the "stuff doesn't happen without coffee" brigade, I henceforward vow to make sure that at least an equal amount of water gets drunk.

How does that equation work by the way? Can I offset the coffee with enough water?

Mark K said...

The trouble with coffee is that you get that initial spike of feeling, for want of a better word, energised. But you also get that dip. That's where folks fall into the trap of relying on coffee to 'keep them awake' - it becomes a roller coaster ride of peaks and troughs, and before you know it, you've gone through numerous cups of the stuff, made several toilet runs and still end up thirsty.

No harm in having a cup first thing in the morning, but that's about it. Moderation being the watch word :)

Sarah Pearson said...

Okay, I'm feeling guilty now. All I drink all day is diet cola, (I honestly don't like the taste of full fat), and cups of tea. I need to do something about this.

Mark K said...

Honestly, Sarah, it's not just me going on my own crusade here, but overloading on caffeine and sweeteners is a disaster in slow motion. Personally, I hated the 'taste' of water, but I carried on drinking it, and eventually my taste buds have grown to like water. So much so that you get to know different 'flavours' depending whether you are drinking tapped water or bottled, and even differing bottled water manufacturers.

Try this as an experiment: for every cup of coffee you have, pour some into a plant - no water at all, just coffee, or even diet coke. See what results you get.

Aurora Celeste said...

I'm guilty of this too. I try to avoid sugar, but my staple is unsweet iced tea. I should try to drink more water.