The Danger of Dehydration in the Elderly

Why Older People Need to Be Vigilant About the Amount of Water They Drink

Old­er peo­ple get dehy­drat­ed more eas­i­ly than younger peo­ple, so it’s com­mon for an old­er per­son to expe­ri­ence a sub­tle lev­el of dehy­dra­tion with­out even being aware of it.

Here are some of the rea­sons an old­er per­son might be at risk of dehy­dra­tion:

  • Your kid­neys don’t work as strong­ly as before, so the urine they cre­ate isn’t as con­cen­trat­ed.  So to elim­i­nate the same amount of waste prod­uct, you have to excrete extra water with it.
  • Lots of med­ica­tions alter your metab­o­lism and con­tribute to dehy­dra­tion.  If you take diuret­ics for your blood pres­sure, the prob­lem becomes that much worse.
  • An old­er per­son might be less aware of the feel­ing of thirst, or might lack the ease of mobil­i­ty to walk to the kitchen to pour a glass of water.
  • If incon­ti­nence is an issue, then you might min­i­mize your risk of leak­age by lim­it­ing the amount you drink.

Some of the phys­i­cal symp­toms of sub­tle dehy­dra­tion are:

  • Dry mouth, lit­tle tear­ing or sweat­ing
  • Dry skin
  • Gen­er­al lack of ener­gy
  • Rapid heart beat (that’s because if your flu­ids are low, your blood vol­ume will be low too, so you’ll have to cycle your blood through your body more rapid­ly to com­pen­sate.)
  • Mus­cle weak­ness, fatigue

Feeling confused or forgetful?

The aging brain needs all the help it can get to stay sharp.

If you’re dehy­drat­ed, you’re mak­ing it that much hard­er for your brain cells to get the nour­ish­ment they need.  The side-effects can include for­get­ful­ness, light-head­ed­ness, con­fu­sion, or even dis­ori­en­ta­tion.

It’s easy to see how these symp­toms can get mis­di­ag­nosed in an old­er per­son.

Your Solution

  • Drink more, of course.
  • All sources of flu­id count.  That means fruits, veg­eta­bles, and soups all help.
  • Tune in to your body and your body’s needs.  Some­times there’s a sim­ple way to address your prob­lems.

 

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Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Hid­den dan­ger of dehy­dra­tion for the elder­ly

Hydra­tion tips from Karen Flick­er

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About Aaron Bynen

Aaron is a health conscious individual living in the Pacific Northwest.

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