Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are You Dehydrated? You Might Be Surprised...

My sister called yesterday afternoon. She had just come from a doctor's appointment where to her surprise, her doctor informed her she is slightly dehydrated. She couldn't understand how that could be - she told him she drinks water every day. His response? Drink some more.

I asked her "How many ounces would you say you drink a day?" and she sort of hemmed and hawed until finally she said "I drink like  5 or more big glasses a day." Of course, I quickly referred to a calculator and let her know how many ounces of water per day she should be drinking ( Take your body weight and divide by 2. Calculate what 80% of that number would be. Mentally convert that number to ounces. That is how many ounces approximately you should drink - every day. )

Needless to say - she was a bit shocked. She knew immediately she wasn't drinking nearly enough water per day.

There are several easy self tests for dehydration:

1. The "back of the hand" test - Pinch the skin on the back of your hand gently. The skin should return to its normal flat state consistently and quickly. If it doesn't...you are dehydrated.

2. The "Shin" test - Firmly depress the skin on the top of the leg below your kneecap. Press it until you are uncomfortable. Once you release your skin, observe the dent in your skin. If the dent stays noticeable for more than a few seconds, the skin cells are sticking to each other due to lack of fluids. 

3. Your Urine - Being a kidney patient, this is my old standby. Urine is a quick visual check of my kidney's status. A hydrated human produces urine that ranges from almost clear to having a light yellow cast - with little odor. The more dehydrated you are, the more concentrated your urine. If your urine is a deep yellow, or has a strong odor - you are dehydrated.

Any of the above self tests will work and will keep you on path for drinking enough water each day. Remember, your body is a machine and the machine is programmed to throw off warning signs of imbalance. Dehydration is one of the most easily solved of your body's imbalances - and water is to your body as oil is to a car. It is a vital fluid to keep your machine working properly.