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Chiropractic Care and Involuntary Dehydration
Dehydration is a condition in which the human body lacks water to maintain homeostasis and normal function. This happens in situations where there is not enough water intake to control the loss of the body through things like sweat, urine, or diarrhea.
Water is essential for human health. It makes up about 60% of the human body weight and is essential for many body functions including maintaining normal blood volume and makeup, and removing the effects of the body. We often associate dehydration with vigorous physical activity and exercise, and hot weather. While it is true that these two factors are often the cause of dehydration, there are other less obvious causes of dehydration and dehydration can occur in people who are not exposed to it. extreme heat or vigorous exercise.
Dehydration can be caused by increased urination, vomiting and diarrhea. In these situations, the body often loses water faster than it can be replaced. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs contain substances known as diuretics. This causes an increase in urine output and therefore water loss. Surprisingly, another major cause of dehydration is America’s favorite beverage.
Although many of us drink soda, black tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages to quench our thirst and prevent dehydration, it can be counterproductive. These drinks have a diuretic effect on the human body. Caffeine in soda, tea, coffee and other beverages can increase the frequency and volume of urine. The same goes for alcohol in alcoholic beverages. This leads to the loss of water in the body and is not corrected, and in the end there is no water. Since most Americans enjoy these beverages, it is likely that most of the American population walks around in at least one state of dehydration. With that said, let’s look at the three main stages of dehydration.
There are three generally accepted stages of dehydration. Each stage considers water loss based on a percentage of body weight. In mild dehydration, the patient loses 3 to 5 percent of body weight. Moderate dehydration is characterized by a loss of 6 to 9% of body weight, while severe dehydration is a loss of 10% or more of body weight. body. Now that we know a little about the classification of dehydration, let’s discuss the common symptoms.
Research has shown that a 2% decrease in hydration can result in a 10% decrease in athletic performance. However, the effects of dehydration are not limited to athletes. Many chiropractic patients experience symptoms similar to those of mild to moderate dehydration. These include:
– Headache, dizziness and lightheadedness
– Muscle aches and pains
– Dry mouth
– Dry eyes
– Dry skin
– And many more
So how do you prevent dehydration? The obvious solution is to ensure that we consume enough water to meet our body’s needs. The average adult needs about 1 liter, or 32 ounces, of water per day. Physically active adults require more: sometimes up to 4 to 5 liters per day. To prevent dehydration, you should increase your water intake before, during and after exercise. Some sources suggest that you should drink about 4 to 6 liters of water every 12 to 15 minutes during exercise. As a general rule, the heavier you are, the higher the temperature and the more intense the exercise, the more water you need.
Many people think that they are not dehydrated because they do not exercise or because they are not thirsty. Vigorous exercise and profuse sweating obviously speed up the process of dehydration and make it more likely to occur but are not necessary for dehydration to occur. It is important to note that feeling thirsty is not a reliable indicator of adequate hydration. Research has shown that feeling thirsty is an early reaction to dehydration. The human body doesn’t even begin to feel thirsty until it has lost 1 to 2 percent of body weight!
Another big problem with dehydration is that people think they are really hydrated because they drink a lot of fluids throughout the day. Unfortunately, these drinks are usually soda, coffee, tea, or alcoholic beverages. As we have said before, these drinks have different effects on the body. Increased urination and water loss from drinking these beverages can offset or negate the benefits of the fluids in them. Avoiding caffeinated beverages and alcohol and increasing water intake are good ways to prevent involuntary dehydration.
You may be wondering how all this talk about water and dehydration has to do with chiropractic care. The relationship is endless! Doctors of chiropractic are concerned with overall health and wellness, not just the biomechanics of the spine. Since water is so important to life, it is clear that a Chiropractor who has the patient’s best interest in mind is very concerned.
Many patients first consult a Doctor of Chiropractic because they experience headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, weakness, back pain, or muscle pain; All of these are also common symptoms of mild and moderate dehydration. Dehydration is also associated with poor cognitive function.
Dehydration can play a role in the deterioration of society and climate change in the spine. Intervertebral discs are natural shock absorbers that cushion the bones of the spine. Located between the vertebrae of the spine, the intervertebral disc is actually fluid. They are a rigid structure made up of a tougher outer ring of fibers with a gelatinous center that allows the discs to be highly flexible, and elastic to absorb forces in the spine and allow the spine to be flexible. We know from research that intervertebral disc degeneration begins with dehydration of the intervertebral disc; with age the intervertebral disc becomes dehydrated and loses its elasticity and flexibility. This loss of hydration leads to damage to the spine and ultimately pain and symptoms.
As you can see, voluntary dehydration can occur even when we are not exercising in a hot environment. Making matters even more difficult is the fact that we are generally not thirsty until we are dehydrated. Drinking the wrong kind of drinks during the day can lead us to the first stage of dehydration which can affect the ability of the mind and body. Water is essential for the cartilage that lubricates and protects the joints and the intervertebral discs that cover and protect our spine. Chronic dehydration, even at mild levels, can have a negative impact on our mental health and physical health. No wonder Doctors of Chiropractic are concerned about proper hydration. Take care of yourself and your body; take time to make sure you are hydrated.
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