Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hydration: A Must to Stay Healthy

Surprisingly, our bodies are made up of 50-60% water (U.S.G.S., 2015). When we don’t get enough water to keep up this percentage, our bodies cannot function properly thus causing potentially serious health problems.

Why is hydration necessary?
Water performs many important functions within the human body. Some of these include:
  • ·         Temperature regulation – For example, our sweat cools our bodies down when we get too hot. If we don’t have enough water, we won’t produce enough sweat and we can overheat (Holland, 2013).
  • ·         Waste flushing – Water is necessary to flush out toxins within our bodies (in the form of urine). If we don’t have enough, toxins can build up and cause illness and even death (U.S.G.S., 2015).
  • ·         Saliva production – Without water, we will not make enough saliva. Saliva is necessary for eating, talking, food digestion, and preventing tooth decay (NIH, 2014).
  • ·         Joints – Water helps cushion our joints as well as helps lubricate them so they can move freely (CDC, 2014).

How much water do we need to intake daily?
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends that women consume 2.7 liters or 11 cups of water and men consume 3.2 liters or 13 cups of water daily to stay properly hydrated (2004).

Another way to figure out how much water you need daily is to use the following calculation:

0.5 ounces x Body Weight in Pounds = Daily Fluid Requirement in ounces

To determine how many cups that would be just divide the number by 8.

For those who exercise for prolonged periods of time in the heat (football, swimming, hiking, running, etc.) there is a new recommendation for fluid intake. The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine (Hew-Butler et al., 2015) recently came out with the recommendation that athletes and those working out in the heat let their thirst determine how much fluid they need. This recommendation was made to prevent the risk of hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the body) that can occur when more fluid is ingested than the body actually needs. See this link for further information: Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine

How do I know if I’m staying hydrated?
The Mayo Clinic lists several symptoms of dehydration:
  • ·         Little to no urine or dark colored urine (I know, this one is pretty gross)
  • ·         Dry mouth
  • ·         Extreme thirst
  • ·         Rapid heartbeat
  • ·         Sunken eyes
  • ·         Rapid breathing
  • ·         Low blood pressure

What do I do to prevent dehydration?
The #1 way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of water especially in times of extreme heat, exercise, or illness.
In addition:
  • ·         Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeinated beverages
  • ·         Stay out of the sun
  • ·         Eat fruits and vegetables as they are naturally high in water content such as zucchini, celery, eggplant, broccoli, watermelon, and strawberries just to name a few.

So, stay hydrated and stay safe!


CDC. (2014, June 3). Drinking water. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Hew-Butler, T., Rosner, M. H., Fowkes-Godek, S., Dugas, J. P., Hoffman, M. D., Lewis, D. P., & ... Verbalis, J. G. (2015). Statement of the Third International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus Development Conference, Carlsbad, California, 2015. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: Official Journal Of The Canadian Academy Of Sport Medicine, 25(4), 303-320. doi:10.1097/JSM.0000000000000221
Holland, K. (2013, June 4). Thermoregulation. Retrieved from Healthline:
Institute of Medicine. (2004). Dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate . Washington: The National Academies.
Mayo Clinic. (2014, February 12). Dehydration: Symptoms. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic:
National Insitute of Health (2014, October 9). Dry mouth. Retrieved from National Institute of Health: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research:
United States Geological Survey (2015, May 5). The water in you. Retrieved from The U.S. Geological Survey:

By: Erin Delashmit, RDH, BS
Ms. Delashmit  received an Associate of Arts degree from Tarrant County College and a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Baylor College of Dentistry. Currently, Ms. Delashmit pursuing Master of Science in Health Studies at TWU.

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