There are a number of reasons that you may get dehydrated easier as you get older. These reasons can include natural aging, the medications that you are taking, or a reduced sense of thirst. The humid air in Florida can increase the risk of dehydration even further through multiple mechanisms, so the risk of dehydration can become even higher while living here.
Why is it so important to stay hydrated?
Staying hydrated helps to keep your immune system strong and your organs functioning properly. Beyond just keeping you going, the benefits of staying hydrated include improved sleep quality, mental cognition, and even your mood (Harvard.edu).
Why does the risk of dehydration increase as you get older?
Some of this increased risk is natural, but not all of it. Here are a few reasons why you may be more prone to become dehydrated as you get older.
Reduced sense of thirst – As we get older, our sense of thirst can become weaker. Living in a humid environment like Florida will also prevent your throat from getting dry and this is another way that your body will typically remind you to drink.
Increased fluid loss – Older adults may lose fluids easier through sweating, urination, or bowel movements.
Medications increase dehydration risk – Medications such as diuretics and laxatives can increase your risk of dehydration.
Health conditions – Many health conditions can put you at risk for dehydration including kidney disease, diabetes, and many circulation or heart-related problems.
How can you tell that your body is becoming dehydrated?
Signs and symptoms that your body is becoming dehydrated may include:
- Muscle cramps
- Dizziness or confusion
- Dry/itchy skin
- Less frequent/darker urination
What can you do to stay hydrated?
Drink plenty of water – Other fluids like juices will work, but water is great for keeping the body hydrated.
Avoided caffeinated beverages and alcohol – These types of beverages can cause you to become dehydrated.
Make it easy to stay hydrated – Bring a bottle of water with you if you go for a walk on a hot day. Keep a pitcher of water or bottles of water in strategic places around the house like near the bed or the couch.
Learn about your medications – Ask your doctor if any of the medications that you are taking can cause dehydration.
Eat fruits or vegetables that have a high water content – This includes foods like oranges, strawberries, watermelons, and pineapples.
Pay attention to the signs of dehydration and drink water throughout the day – Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink and don’t wait until your throat is dry. Try to drink water evenly throughout the day.
Following these tips will help to keep you healthy and happy! Good hydration will keep your body healthy and everything from your skin to your brain will benefit.