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Thursday, December 19, 2013

BEWARE OF DEHYDRATION

The familiar scene in majority of Indian homes is that water is served only on demand. So it becomes increasingly the individual’s lookout to gauge his/her daily water needs. Neglecting this important fuel crams the body processes.

Water is, in fact, the most important nutrient in our body. It is the primary transporter of nutrients in the body. About 70% of human body is water. Health experts say that we could survive without food upto 5 weeks but not more than 5 days without water.

Lack of water in the body immediately affects  the blood volume and thereby burdens the heart and kidney with over-work.

A recent 2012 study by a team of health scientists led by Lawrence E. Armstrong, Professor of Physiology at the University of Connecticut (U.S) brought out some chilling facts before the world. The research finds that even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level and ability to think clearly. The ill-effects of dehydration are equal both in high-energy consumed treadmill walker and a person sitting at rest.

Health experts define mild dehydration as less than 1.5% of water volume in the body. The tests further reveal that our thirst sensation does not really surface until we are 1 or 2% dehydrated.   By that time dehydration  already sets in and shows its impact on our mind and body’, says Prof Armstrong.

When it comes to the cognitive tasks that affect due to dehydration, scientists find that it affects the areas of vigilance and working memory.   Some subjects also experienced fatigue, tension and anxiety when mildly dehydrated.  The impact was found more on females than  males.

When dehydration occurs, the neurons in the brain detect it which signals to other parts of the brain regulating mood. So the solution lies in hydrating the body on daily basis.

The daily dose of water that our system needs is 8 glasses or 2 litres. The barometer for our hydration level in the body is to check the colour of urine. Healthy urine colour is ‘very pale yellow’. If the urine colour is dark yellow or tan in colour, it indicates a greater dehydration. The study cautions proper hydration for high-risk groups such as elderly people with diabetes and children.

Considering the profundity of the issue, one should not water down this caution !

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