Caring for the Health of the whole Family...
The winter season in Dubai is extremely pleasant. Cool weather along with the common use of air conditioning frequently poses the question of whether we still need to drink a lot of water, especially when we do not really feel thirsty.
Human existence is dependent on water. It has been ranked by experts as 2nd only to oxygen as essential for life. The following quick facts are most relevant in enhancing this discussion and thereby help us understand the emphasis of water as essential to our existence. The average adult body is 55 to 75% water. 2/3rd of your body weight is water. A human embryo is more than 80% water. A newborn baby is 74% water. So it is evident that the water you drink is literally you!
Lots of fresh water is mandatory to stay healthy. It aids a number of body functions like absorption of food, digestion, regulation of body temperature, carrying nutrients and oxygen to the cells, removing toxins and other wastes—to name a few. Conversely, our body responds to water deficiency in a variety of ways that we frequently see as illnesses and this lack of water (dehydration) can lead to many ailments, for instance hypertension, constipation, headaches, urinary tract infection and stone formation. Every process in our body thus occurs in a water medium. We can exist without food for 2 months or more but can only survive for a few days without water.
Adults loose nearly 12 cups of water everyday. We lose ½ to 1 cup of water a day from the soles of our feet, another 2-4 cups from breathing, 2 cups from perspiration and another 6 cups in urine. This could be much more with exercise and physical exertion.
The body has no sort of reserve system. Hence, when the body is dehydrated, it operates a priority distribution system for the amount that has been made available by intake. The body’s signals of dehydration are frequently joint pain, stomach pain and ulcers, back pain, low energy, mental confusion and disorientation. The body has no sort of reserve system. Hence, when the body is dehydrated, it operates a priority distribution system for the amount that has been made available by intake. The body’s signals of dehydration are frequently joint pain, stomach pain and ulcers, back pain, low energy, mental confusion and disorientation.
Digestion depends on water. Acids and enzymes in the stomach break the food into a homogenised fluid state, which can then pass into the intestine for the next phase of digestion. Constipation is therefore a frequent system of dehydration. Increased water and fibre will normally eliminate the problem. Gastritis, duodenitis, pain from ulcers and heartburn all decrease with increased water intake. Water eliminates toxins and waste from the body.
Water regulates body temperature through perspiration, which dissipates excess heat and cools our bodies.
We even need water to breathe. As we take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, our lungs moisten by water. We lose about 1-2 pints of water daily by just exhaling.
The kidneys remove waste such as uric acid, urea and lactic acid, all of which must be dissolved in water. Insufficiency of water causes the wastes to remain in the body that may result in formation of stones, urinary tract infection and damage to kidneys.
Water lubricates our joints. The cartilage tissues found at the ends of long bones and between the vertebrae of the spine hold a lot of water, which serves as a lubricant during movement of the joint. When the cartilage is hydrated, the two opposing surfaces glide freely & friction damage is minimal. If the cartilage is dehydrated, the rate of “ abrasive” damage is increased, resulting in joint deterioration and increased pain. Rheumatoid joint pain frequently decreases with increased water intake and flexing exercises that help bring more circulation to the joints.
The water volume that is stored in the spinal disc supports 75% of the upper body weight. The fibrous materials around the disc support 25%. The spinal joints are dependant on different hydraulic properties of water which is stored in the disc core. Back pain is frequently alleviated with hydration.
Brain tissue is 85% water. Although the brain is only 1/50th of the body weight, it does 1/20th of the blood supply. With dehydration, the level of energy generation in the brain is increased. Depression and chronic fatigue syndrome are frequently results of dehydration. Migraine headaches may be an indicator of critical body temperature regulation at times of “heat stress.” Dehydration plays a major role in bringing on migraines. Dehydration causes stress and stress causes further dehydration.Brain tissue is 85% water. Although the brain is only 1/50th of the body weight, it does 1/20th of the blood supply. With dehydration, the level of energy generation in the brain is increased. Depression and chronic fatigue syndrome are frequently results of dehydration. Migraine headaches may be an indicator of critical body temperature regulation at times of “heat stress.” Dehydration plays a major role in bringing on migraines. Dehydration causes stress and stress causes further dehydration.
Water Vs Other Beverages
There is a difference between drinking pure water and beverages that contain water. Fruit juice, soft drinks, coffee etc may contain substances that are not healthy and actually contradict some of the positive effects of the added water. Caffeinated beverages stimulate the adrenal glands. Fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and stimulate the pancreas. Soda contains sodium. These drinks may tax the body more than they cleanse it. Other beverages also contain dehydrating agents. They may actually reduce the water reserves in the body! Drinking other beverages to the exclusion of water also cause you to loose your taste for water. This is particularly true with children as they become dependent on sodas and juices.
Water and weight loss
Water is fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium, - nil calories. Drinking more water also helps to reduce water retention by stimulating your kidneys. The daily requirement of water for the body is 8 glasses. Studies have recommended that if you are overweight you should add one glass of water to your daily requirement for every 25 pounds over your recommended weight.
How much water should you drink?
A non-active person needs half a cup (50mls) of water per pound of body weight per day. For every 25 pounds you exceed your ideal weight, increase it by a glass of water. The more you exercise the more water you need. Spread out your water intake throughout the day. Do not drink more than four glasses within any given hour. After a few weeks your bladder calms down and you will urinate less frequently, but in larger amounts.
Courtesy: Dr.K.R Malpani (M.S Bombay, F.R.C.S U.K.), Consultant Urologist, Welcare Hospital, Dubai.Dr.K.R Malpani (M.S Bombay, F.R.C.S U.K.), Consultant Urologist, Welcare Hospital, Dubai.