Water Needs and Elderly Dehydration

There are immense health benefits to drinking plenty of water. Water keeps our body tissues moist, such as the eyes, mouth, and throat wet; our joints well lubricated; and helps to prevent constipation. Water is also vital to regulating body temperature and dissolving vitamins and minerals so that the body can make better use of them. Water also facilitates tear production, saliva production, sweat, and urine, all of which are important to transporting waste, clearing toxins from the body or assisting with the digestion of food – all essential functions to maintaining good health. So when our bodies become dehydrated, they do not function optimally.

Causes of Dehydration

There are many causes for dehydration. Sometimes the environment around us is too hot and dries us out. For example, overheated air pulls moisture from the lungs, and weather that is too hot and sun that is too direct can deplete our bodies of our water reserves. Illnesses can also cause us to become dehydrated. An illness might give us a fever and cause us to sweat, while at the same time decrease ability to sense thirst. We sweat and produce urine, but do not feel the need to replenish our bodies with fluids because of the sickness. Sometimes doctor’s orders and prescription medications can cause dehydration. For instance, the doctor might require no fluid intake 24-48 hours prior to an operation or other medical procedure, during which time we could suffer from dehydration. Similarly, a doctor may prescribe certain medications, which depress thirst as a side effect of taking the medication.

Of course, the most obvious and readily apparent cause of dehydration is not consuming enough fluids to keep fluid levels in the body at the proper amount. Many ailments could cause a person to refrain from drinking enough water or fluid to remain hydrated. For example, a sore throat or difficulty swallowing could discourage someone from drinking, as could periodontal issues like mouth sores and temperature-sensitive teeth. Further, the physical inability to get one’s self a beverage can also lead to a person becoming dehydrated.

Elderly People Need More Hydration

Since elderly individuals need constant hydration to remain healthy, it is strongly suggested that older people consume at least 8 ounces of water, or another fluid equivalent, an hour for at least 8 hours of the day. That is not to say that all or most beverages must be water. Juices, weak teas and dietary supplements all offer health benefits and hydration and taste good. Sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol should be avoided as these types of beverages have a diuretic effect and can cause dehydration.

Contact a Dehydration Attorney

If you or someone you love resides in the nursing home facility and you are concerned that he or she is suffering from dehydration at the hands of his or her care providers, please contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who specializes in dehydration cases at The Rooth Law Firm. Contact us either online or by phone at (847) 869-9100 for a free consultation.

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