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Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Water and You

Here's some information about water summarized from an article from the

"Water is your body's principal chemical component, comprising, on average, 60 percent of your weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues."
On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake, while the remaining 80 percent comes from water and beverages of all kinds.

A lack of water can lead to dehydration where your body doesn't have enough water to carry out normal functions as nearly all major systems in your body depend on water.
What are those functions?

* Regulates body tempature
* Moistens tissues such as those in the mouth, eyes, and nose
* Lubricates joints
* Protects body organs and tissues
* Helps prevent constipation
* Lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
* Helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make them accessible to the body
* Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells

You lose water every day through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink about 3.0 liters (approx. 13 cups) of total beverage a day and women 2.2 liters (about 9 cups).

There are various factors that can influence the amount of water you need such as:

Exercise - The more you exercise, the more fluid you'll need to keep your body hydrated. Longer and more intense exercise will require more and it's best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. You should replace fluid after exercise and drinking 16 ounces of fluid per pound of body weight lost during exercise is recommended.

Environment - Hot and humid weather can make you sweat more requiring additional fluid intake. Heated indoor air can cause you skin to lose moisture which will need to be replaced. Also high altitudes can increase breathing and trigger more urination which uses up more of your fluid reserves.

Illnesses and Health conditions - Fever, vomiting and diarrhea, cause your body to lose additional fluids where you may require oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or Ceralyte in addition to water. Bladder infections or urinary tract stones, require increased water intake, while certain conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.

Pregnancy or breast-feeding - Women who are expecting should drink 2.4 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who are breast-feeding need 3.0 liters (about 12.5 cups) of fluids a day.

It's not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you become thirsty, you may be already slightly dehydrated. As you get older your body is less able to sense dehydration and send your brain signals of thirst. Excessive thirst and increased urination can be signs of a more serious medical condition. Talk to your doctor if you experience either.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

Mild to excessive thirst
Dry mouth
Little or no urination
Muscle weakness


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